Types of Diabetes
In type 1 diabetes the body attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells; as a result, no insulin is produced. We still do not fully understand why this happens although based on current research and scientific evidence we know that it is not related to our diet or lifestyle. About 5-10% of all people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. Until there’s a cure, this type of diabetes requires lifelong insulin therapy and glucose monitoring.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In people with type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce adequate levels of insulin, or it is unable to use the insulin being produced effectively (also known as insulin resistance). As a result, the glucose starts building up in the blood stream leading to high blood glucose. We now know that a variety of genetic and environmental (lifestyle) factors together increase our risk for type 2 diabetes. This form of diabetes was typically seen in people above the age of 40, however, in the last decade or so an increasing number of children are developing type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy. It is a result of the body not being able to produce enough insulin to cope with the additional bodily changes and demands that normally occur during pregnancy. Women are usually diagnosed in the late second-early third trimester of their pregnancy. However, a few women may get diagnosed early on in their pregnancy and it could be that they had underlying diabetes or insulin resistance before they became pregnant – but weren’t aware of it.
All women with gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life and are encouraged to get tested for diabetes or prediabetes every 3 to 5 years.
Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they may have a condition called “prediabetes”, which means their blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as diabetes. Long-term damage to the body, especially the heart and circulatory system, may be occurring during prediabetes. People with prediabetes you should be checked for type 2 diabetes every one to two years.
When you have diabetes, the goal is to maintain blood glucose at a healthy level to prevent future complications and keep your diabetes in control. A diabetes care team can work with you to create a diabetes treatment plan that includes:
- Diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES)
- Medical nutrition therapy (MNT)- whether you have type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes, it is not only important to be aware of what you eat but, also how much and when you eat.
- Physical activity – daily exercise is one of the most important parts of maintaining your blood glucose levels. It is recommended to partake in 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day to avoid the risk of future complications.
- Medication – for type 2 diabetes, you may need to take pills, injectable medication, and/or insulin. To control type 1 diabetes, insulin must be taken through injections or an insulin pump.
- Monitoring – it is necessary to frequently monitor yourself to see how your diabetes treatment plan is working to meet your target blood glucose goals
For more information, please visit the American Diabetes Association.
The Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people with diabetes through its clinical, education and support services. Innovative and customized programs at the Allen Diabetes Center include the Sweet Success Program tailored for women who have diabetes while pregnant; pediatric diabetes services, and the Herbert Program for Young Adults with Type I Diabetes.