Diabetes is a condition where the body does not produce enough or is resistant to a hormone called insulin. There are several types of diabetes, including type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
In this article, we discuss the different types of diabetes, their causes and symptoms, how to manage them, and whether it is possible to reduce the risk of getting diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that attacks the pancreas, leading to an insulin deficiency.
Type 1 diabetes most commonly appears in childhood or adolescence, but people of any age can develop type 1 diabetes.
A 2017 article in Point Care indicates that people with type 1 diabetes account for
Type 1 diabetes develops due to an autoimmune reaction. This causes the immune system, or T cells, to attack and destroy insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This means the pancreas is unable to produce insulin.
According to a
When a person has diabetes, their body does not transport glucose from the bloodstream properly, resulting in increased glucose levels in the blood and urine.
Diabetes can cause the
- increased thirst
- increased appetite
- increased need to urinate
- weight loss
Risk factors may
- Family history: Having a parent or sibling with type 1 diabetes.
- Age: Although healthcare professionals typically diagnose type 1 diabetes in children, it can develop at any age.
The primary treatment for type 1 diabetes involves taking insulin. The
It is essential to check and maintain blood sugar levels regularly. According to the
As well as checking blood sugar levels and injecting insulin, the
- eating a healthful diet
- being physically active
- controlling blood pressure and cholesterol
- practicing good sleep hygiene
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Around
Type 2 diabetes most commonly affects those over the
When the pancreas is unable to produce
Type 2 diabetes has a strong genetic link. People belonging to minority ethnic groups, for example, African American and Pacific Islanders, are more prone to have type 2 diabetes than those with European ancestry, according to a
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes
- having prediabetes, a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than usual, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes
- having obesity
- being 45 years or older
- having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
- being physically inactive
- having had gestational diabetes, or giving birth to a baby over 9 pounds
People with diabetes can manage the condition at home with support from a healthcare team.
Some people may also require mediation.
According to the
- injectable insulin
- other injectable medication
- oral diabetes medicines
These medications manage blood sugar levels and help avoid complications.
People with type 2 diabetes must monitor their blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels regularly.
Pregnant women who do not already have diabetes can develop gestational diabetes. The CDC indicate that
Pregnancy causes some insulin resistance.
If the body is unable to produce enough insulin to compensate for the insulin resistance that pregnancy causes, a person may develop gestational diabetes.
Some women with gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes usually develops around the
Risk factors for gestational diabetes
- having had gestational diabetes previously
- having given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
- having obesity
- being over 25 years old
- having a family history of type 2 diabetes
- having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- being African American, Hispanic, or Latino American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander
Treatment for gestational diabetes mainly involves making lifestyle changes,
- checking blood sugar levels
- eating a healthful diet
- being active
- monitoring the baby during pregnancy
If these changes do not manage blood sugar levels, a doctor may prescribe insulin, metformin, or other medication.
Although a person cannot prevent type 1 diabetes, they may be able to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. The World Obesity Federation suggest that BMI and obesity account for around
For people with prediabetes, losing weight through calorie restrictions and physical activity reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by
Children at risk of developing type 2 diabetes may benefit from:
- being taught how to follow a healthful diet and be physically active
- changing the home and school environment to enable healthful lifestyles
According to the
Untreated diabetes can lead to further complications. One of these is hypoglycemia, which is a condition where blood sugar levels drop rapidly. This needs immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia
- sweating, chills, and shakiness
- dizziness and difficulty concentrating
- hunger or nausea
If a person does not receive treatment for type 1 diabetes, it may lead to:
- cerebral edema, which is a condition where fluid builds up around the brain
- mental confusion
Other complications include:
- fungal infections under the breast, between fingers and toes, genitals, and armpits
- glaucoma and cataracts
- nerve damage
- kidney disease
- high blood pressure
It is important to see a doctor if any symptoms associated with diabetes appear. However, many people with diabetes may not notice any symptoms. It is crucial to recognize the risk factors that may increase a person’s chances of developing diabetes. Anyone experiencing any of these symptoms must see a doctor.
A doctor will be able to test for diabetes in several ways. The
- A1C test: This measures an individual’s average blood sugar level over 2–3 months.
- Fasting blood sugar test: This measures a person’s blood sugar levels after they have fasted overnight.
- Glucose tolerance test: This measures blood sugar before and after someone drinks a liquid that contains glucose.
- Random blood sugar test: A person can take this at any time without needing to fast.
Diabetes affects many people in the United States.
The two main types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune reaction, which a person cannot prevent it. Type 2 diabetes is typically due to lifestyle factors, which means a person can prevent it. Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that only affects pregnant women.
There are many risk factors for diabetes. However, a person can manage diabetes by making lifestyle changes and taking medication if necessary.
It is important to treat diabetes. Complications can arise if diabetes is left untreated. Anyone who experiences symptoms of type 1 diabetes or has any risk factors for developing type 2 or gestational diabetes should see a doctor for a diagnosis.