The Diabetes Foundation has identified two main types of diabetes, as well as several subtypes that fall under each category. Both type 1 and type 2 are chronic conditions that affect the way your body metabolizes sugar from carbohydrates in food and drinks.
When you have diabetes, the cells in your pancreas don’t produce enough insulin to keep your blood sugar at healthy levels or your body doesn’t respond properly to insulin, so glucose builds up in your bloodstream instead of being absorbed into cells where it can be used for energy or stored as fat.
Both types of diabetes are characterized by high blood sugar levels. According to ADA, there are two main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes (T1D) and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Approximately one in every 10 people with diabetes has T1D, which is also called insulin-dependent or juvenile-onset diabetes. People with T1D must take insulin because their bodies cannot produce it on their own.
This is due to a genetic defect where beta cells in pancreatic islets no longer make insulin. Approximately nine out of 10 people with diabetes have T2D, which usually develops later in life as a result of genetics, weight gain, pregnancy or aging-related hormonal changes that prevent you from using glucose properly as an energy source.
People with type 1 diabetes produce little or no insulin. There are different types of diabetes.
Type 1, sometimes called juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes, used to be seen almost only in children. But it is increasingly being diagnosed in adults as well as teens.
Since type 1 often starts before adulthood, doctors call it a pediatric disease. It is an autoimmune disease (which means that something happens inside your body that triggers your immune system to attack and destroy healthy tissue).
Your immune system destroys cells in your pancreas that make insulin – even though there is still plenty of insulin available in your body – so you can’t control blood sugar levels on your own.
If you have gestational diabetes, your body is producing an unusual amount of insulin. This is known as hyperinsulinemia, and can also occur in people with type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes often goes away after delivery.
But if you have gestational diabetes, your doctor will likely recommend extra blood sugar tests for one year after delivery to monitor for a possible type 2 diabetes diagnosis.
More long-term research is needed to understand what risk factors may predispose women to developing type 2 in later life.
An A1C test is a very common type of blood test used to measure your average blood sugar over a three-month period. The normal range for most people with diabetes is 4.5–6%, according to Mayo Clinic. If you have diabetes, you may want to test your A1C levels every few months to see if you’re keeping them in line with recommended numbers.
An A1C level greater than 7% indicates that blood sugar has been high for a long time, which can lead to serious complications down the road like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and blindness. Getting it checked at least once a year could help ensure early treatment if there are any issues.
Medication and Pumps
Many people with type 2 diabetes are able to manage their disease through diet, exercise, and weight loss. But sometimes medications or insulin injections are needed. Injectable drugs can make it easier to manage blood sugar levels in type 1 diabetics. Antidepressants called thiazolidinediones (eg, Avandia) work by increasing sensitivity to insulin.
Fluorinated steroids (eg, Glucophage) slow glucose absorption from food. Metformin helps control blood sugar levels by decreasing glucose production in your liver and increasing insulin sensitivity. These drugs may be used individually or combined as part of a treatment plan customized for you based on your specific type of diabetes, health history, lifestyle habits, etc.
How To Treat This Illness?
While you may think of diabetes as one condition, there are actually different types of diabetes—each with its own symptoms, complications, and treatments. Knowing which kind you have is important for managing your disease; knowing how to treat it means understanding your options.
For example, type 1 diabetics may need to get daily insulin shots to stay alive; type 2 diabetics can often manage their symptoms through diet and exercise alone. No matter what kind of diabetes you have, these tips will help