Understanding diabetes: Its three main formsBy
Diabetes is one word, but it can be used to describe several diseases with some shared characteristics. Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases which cause high blood sugar levels. Amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood is high either because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or your body is unable to use the insulin being made.
There are three main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Gestational Diabetes
Having type 1 diabetes means that your pancreas produces very little or no insulin. Sugar (glucose) then builds up in the blood and can’t get into the cells to give you energy because insulin is missing. This type of diabetes is sometimes called juvenile diabetes because it often is first seen in children or young people.
Having type 2 diabetes means the pancreas may still be making some, but not enough insulin. The cells also may not respond to insulin the way they should. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Nearly 90 percent of all people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. It usually strikes older adults, but can be seen in younger adults and some children.
Gestational diabetes affects women during pregnancy. In some women, the pregnancy hormones don’t allow insulin to do its job. Having high blood sugar during pregnancy can cause the baby to get too large, or cause other problems. Once the baby is born, gestational diabetes usually goes away. It does put the mother and baby at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes in the future.
Several research and advocacy groups focus on improving the lives of people living with diabetes. These resource organizations are a good start to understanding diabetes and putting steps in place to manage and control the condition.