Types of Diabetes
Diabetes occurs when blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal. That increase is caused by problems with insulin. This hormone helps glucose from the food you eat enter your body’s cells and give you energy. High glucose levels can damage your body. Diabetes is categorized into three basic types.
Type 1 diabetes, previously known as juvenile diabetes, is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although can be diagnosed at any age. In type 1 diabetes the pancreas stops producing insulin; therefore, insulin must be used as treatment.
- Frequent urination
- Unusual thirst
- Extreme hunger
- Unusual weight loss
- Extreme fatigue
At its core, proper type 1 diabetes management is composed of a handful of elements: blood glucose control and insulin management, education, preventive screenings, exercise, nutrition and support.
A diagnosis of type 1 diabetes means the pancreas is no longer capable of producing insulin. Insulin is then delivered through multiple daily injections using insulin pens or syringes or by an insulin pump. The individual with type 1 diabetes will monitor their blood glucose levels and appropriately administer insulin to manage blood glucose. Close work with a comprehensive healthcare team will help determine which insulin and insulin delivery method will meet the person’s individual needs.
In type 2 diabetes, either the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the cells use insulin ineffectively, or both. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When you eat food, the body breaks down carbohydrate into glucose. Insulin should ‘unlock’ the cell for the sugar to enter and be burned as fuel.
When glucose builds up in the blood, instead of being used by the cells, it can cause two problems:
- Right away, your cells may be starved for energy.
- Over time, high blood glucose levels may have a negative effect on the eyes, kidneys, nervous system or heart.
Some groups have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. It is more common in African American, Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander and some Asian Americans, as well as the aged population.
These are the most common symptoms experienced by people with type 2 diabetes. However, often, people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms.
- Feeling tired or fatigued
- Frequent urination and thirst
- Frequent infections
- Blurred vision
- Slow healing
- Tingling/numbness in the hands or feet
- Recurring skin, gum or bladder infections
Lifestyle modification, including meal planning to manage carbohydrate intake and weight loss, as well as increasing activity level based on ability are the cornerstones of type 2 diabetes management.
Most people living with type 2 diabetes will also need some type of medication to help them manage their blood glucose. Oral medications vary and may help the pancreas release more insulin, decrease the amount of glucose produced by the liver, help cells use insulin, slow the digestion of carbohydrate in the foods eaten or help the kidneys release excess glucose through the urine. Non-insulin, injectable diabetes medications stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin, suppress the liver’s glucose output and slow digestion of carbohydrate.
Some individuals with type 2 diabetes may also need to use insulin to manage their blood glucose levels.
Gestational diabetes typically occurs around 28 weeks of pregnancy or later.
A diagnosis of gestational diabetes doesn’t mean that you had diabetes before you conceived or that you will have diabetes after giving birth. It is important to follow your doctor’s advice regarding blood glucose levels while you are planning your pregnancy so that you and your baby both remain healthy.
Women who have gestational diabetes may be at a greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life, so yearly follow-up visits with your physician are important.
For more information, visit Gestational Diabetes or contact your obstetrician-gynecologist.
Marshall Health is proud to partner with you on your journey toward health and wellness. We invite you to check back often as we update this information.
Quality Care at Chertow Diabetes Center
The Bruce Chertow Diabetes Center has been Recognized by the American Diabetes Association for Quality Diabetes Self-Management Education* and Support.