While people tend to use the word “diabetes” as a generalized term, in actuality there are four different types of diabetes. Knowing the differences between them is important because although the conditions are related, there are variations regarding traits, complications, and symptoms.
Although prediabetes isn’t technically considered a type, it is a precursor where an individual will manifest higher levels of blood sugar that aren’t sufficient to classify as type two diabetes, but which are still abnormal. It is estimated that 1 in every 3 Americans has it. They often won’t experience specific symptoms, which increases their likelihood of developing a full-blown illness. However, it can be detected via blood sugar exam and the good news is that its presence doesn’t automatically mean that you’re guaranteed to get type 2 diabetes. But it should certainly be seen as a warning sign that you need to become physically fit and begin eating a healthier diet.
This is a form of diabetes that occurs in pregnant women. The CDC states that each year about two to ten percent of pregnancies within the USA become afflicted due to gestational diabetes. It poses specific health issues to both expecting mothers as well as their babies, and scientists aren’t quite sure what causes it. There is a hormone produced in the placenta that stops the body from effectively utilizing insulin, resulting in a glucose accumulation inside blood instead of being absorbed by cells. Unlike other diabetes variants, gestational diabetes doesn’t involve inadequate insulin, but the creation of pregnancy hormones that reduce its efficiency.
Type 2 Diabetes
Research shows that this is the most common form of diabetes among Americans. It usually appears in people over the age of forty-five, but in recent years has also begun appearing in young adults, adolescents, and children. Those that have it will display a blood sugar level that is excessive, but many patients are also capable of producing adequate insulin within their system. The real danger for this group is insulin resistance because although their bodies can generate insulin, their cells are not capable of utilizing it properly.
Type 1 Diabetes
Though not as common as type 2 diabetes, it typically occurs in young adults, children, and teenagers, but can also appear in older adults. Those that have this variant will have difficulty producing insulin within their pancreas. When this occurs, glucose won’t enter the cells normally, which culminates in a glucose accumulation inside one’s bloodstream that leads to elevated blood sugar which can harm the body. If left untreated it can lead to complications such as stroke, heart attack, and higher blood pressure.
One of the main differences between type 1 and 2 diabetes is that whereas type 2 can be prevented by making certain lifestyle changes, there appears to be no way to stop the onset of type 1 diabetes. However, it can be treated via insulin injections or pumps, and those that have it will need to carefully manage their blood sugar levels.