There are Three Main Types of Diabetes
Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational Diabetes. Each type of diabetes arises from a unique set of circumstances in the body. The type of diabetes a person has determines the type of treatment they need. The exact science behind the different types of diabetes takes a medical education to completely understand, but the basics of each type of diabetes are easily understood. Though some treatments like insulin injections are unique to one type of diabetes, there are other treatments that are used across the board for all diabetics such as dieting and exercise. Additionally, each type of diabetes has risk factors and specific warning signs. For the purpose of this article, we will remain focused on brief descriptions of the types of diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is the most serious of the three major types of diabetes. It is usually (but not always) diagnosed in childhood. At one time, this form of diabetes and was called “Juvenile Diabetes”. If not diagnosed in childhood, it is generally diagnosed in adolescence or early adulthood.
Type 1 diabetes has also been given the term “Insulin-Dependent Diabetes”. This form of diabetes requires daily injections of insulin. Insulin, which is a hormone, is produced by beta cells in the pancreas. For people with Type 1 diabetes, the beta cells do not produce enough of (or even any) insulin at all. Therefore, diabetics with Type 1 diabetes have to inject it because insulin is detrimental to a person’s health.
The role of insulin is to help move glucose (blood sugar) into cells. Glucose stays stored in cells until it is needed and then it is used for energy. When there isn’t enough insulin, the bloodstream gets a buildup of glucose, yet this sugar cannot be used for energy because it hasn’t reached the cells or gone into them for storage. Therefore, the sugar isn’t producing energy and the buildup of glucose in the bloodstream can lead to several serious medical complications.
Though there is no exact known cause for Type 1 diabetes, it is assumed there are triggers that are either viral or in the environment that cause the white-blood cells to attack the pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin (an immune reaction) in people that are predisposed for the disease. This type of diabetes has many serious complications associated with it. Typical early symptoms have a rapid onset and include, but aren’t limited to:
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Weight loss even if an increased appetite is present
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common type of diabetes. It is particularly prevalent in people that are overweight. Though most frequently it is found in adults, as the younger generation is becoming increasingly obese and lacking in exercise, more and more young people are known to have Type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is sometimes referred to as “insulin resistance”. The body of a person with Type 2 diabetes does not respond correctly in a normal manner to insulin and so glucose builds up in the blood. In particular, fat, liver and muscle cells do not correctly respond to insulin.
Excess fat interferes with the ability to use insulin which is why people that are overweight are more at risk for Type 2 diabetes. However, there are other risk factors for Type 2 diabetes as well no matter how much a person weighs. Some of the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include, but are not limited to:
- Age over 45
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Race (the highest rates of diabetes are in Native Americans, African Americans and Hispanic Americans)
There are other risk factors for this type of diabetes as well which is why it is the most common. Anyone with poor eating habits, low activity levels and has excess fat around the waist is at risk for Type 2 diabetes.
Treatment for Type 2 diabetes is generally a matter of increasing exercise and maintaining a strict, individualized diabetic diet. However, make no mistake about it: Type 2 diabetes is serious and can lead to other medical complications if not treated properly.
Gestational Diabetes can happen to women who don’t have diabetes prior to pregnancy. It can occur at any point during pregnancy but most often it starts halfway through. Basically, the pregnancy hormones block insulin.
Most women who get Gestational diabetes return to normal after the baby is delivered. Still, it’s important to note that women who experience Gestational diabetes are at a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. Additionally, they are at risk of cardiovascular disease. Treatment for Gestational diabetes is similar to the treatment of Type 2 diabetes with the exception that your doctor will also be monitoring your baby. Diabetic medications are also sometimes prescribed for women with Gestational diabetes.
Certain risk factors make a woman more likely to have Gestational diabetes; these include:
- Becoming pregnant after the age of 25
- High Blood Pressure
- Family history of diabetes
- Overweight prior to pregnancy
- Previous miscarriage or stillbirth
Other risk factors such as sugar in the urine at the time of a prenatal exam, a previous birth weighing more than 9 pounds, too much amniotic fluid, etc… increase the likelihood of a woman getting Gestational diabetes.
There are three major types of diabetes with Type 2 diabetes being the most common. Currently over 20 million Americans have some form of diabetes. It is believed that there are over 40 million Americans that have what is called early Type 2 diabetes and is also known as “pre-diabetes”. Though the onset of diabetes cannot always be avoided, exercise and proper diet can greatly reduce the chance of developing diabetes as an adult.
source: Types of Diabetes