Diabetes is a collection of diseases that result in too much sugar, also referred to as glucose, in your blood. There are a few different types of diabetes that affect how the sugar in your bloodstream is processed – Type I diabetes and Type II diabetes. While diabetes is a chronic condition, there are two other types of diabetes that can arise as a result of specific circumstances – gestational diabetes and pre-diabetes.
Together, we’ll explore the many types of diabetes and how they affect your body differently. We’ll also dive deeper into living with diabetes and how to manage the disease.
Type I Diabetes
Type I diabetes is when your body produces little to no insulin. This is a result of an autoimmune disorder where your immune system attacks the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin. Those who suffer from Type I diabetes need to take insulin everyday in order for their body to properly function. Typically, this type of diabetes is found early on in children, teens and young adults and is the more rare type of diabetes.
Type II Diabetes
Type II diabetes is a bit different in that your body can naturally produce insulin, it just can process the insulin the way it’s supposed to. This causes the body to experience unbalanced levels of blood sugar. This type of diabetes is the most common and is typically found in adults. Unlike Type I diabetes, this condition is developed over time and can be managed through lifestyle changes, including changes to your diet and activity level.
Other Types of Diabetes
Gestational Diabetes. This type of diabetes occurs in pregnant women who do not have a previous history of diabetes. Gestational diabetes is developed after becoming pregnant and typically goes away after the baby has been born. It has many causes and poses a risk for the mother to develop Type II diabetes later on. A woman can be diagnosed with gestational diabetes when her body produces too much insulin and it can’t process it efficiently, due to weight and hormone changes. Not everyone who is pregnant will develop gestational diabetes; however, if you are overweight, pre-diabetic, or have polycystic ovary syndrome, you may be at a higher risk.
Pre-diabetes. While not a treatable condition, pre-diabetes is when your blood sugar levels are elevated, just not high enough to be diagnosed as Type II diabetes. Knowing this condition can give patients the advantage of changing their lifestyle before the condition becomes more serious.
Living with diabetes can be challenging, but manageable. It’s important to talk with your healthcare provider about your diabetic condition and the best ways to manage it. In most cases, living an active lifestyle, eating foods that help you control your blood sugar levels, and maintaining a healthy weight can help you live a more “normal” life with diabetes. It’s important to stay educated and learn about the health risks living with diabetes presents, such as an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and problems with your kidney and nerve functions. While there is no cure, diabetes is treatable. Talk with your doctor to learn more.