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What is diabetes and what are the different types?

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is an important hormone that helps the body convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy needed for everyday life. While the exact cause of diabetes is still unknown, many factors that been linked to the development of the disease.

There are four major types of diabetes including Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, Pre-diabetes, and Gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes results from the body''s body are higher than normal, but not quite so high for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. An for 1 last update 31 May 2020 autoimmune disease results when the body’s system for fighting infection—the immune system—turns against a part of the body. In diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The pancreas then produces little or no insulin. A person who has type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily to live.

At present, scientists do not know exactly what causes the body’s immune system to attack the beta cells, but they believe that autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors, possibly viruses, are involved. Type 1 diabetes accounts for about 5 to 10 percent of diagnosed diabetes in the United States. It develops most often in children and young adults but can appear at any age.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes usually develop over a short period, although beta cell destruction can begin years earlier. Symptoms may include increased thirst and urination, constant hunger, weight loss, blurred vision, and extreme fatigue. If not diagnosed and treated with insulin, a person with type 1 diabetes can lapse into a life-threatening diabetic coma, also known as diabetic ketoacidosis.
[Excerpt taken from National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC).]

Risk FactorsType 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease results when the body’s system for fighting infection—the immune system—turns against a part of the body. In diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The pancreas then produces little or no insulin. A person who has type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily to live.

At present, scientists do not know exactly what causes the body’s immune system to attack the beta cells, but they believe that autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors, possibly viruses, are involved. Type 1 diabetes accounts for about 5 to 10 percent of diagnosed diabetes in the United States. It develops most often in children and young adults but can appear at any age.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes usually develop over a short period, although beta cell destruction can begin years earlier. Symptoms may include increased thirst and urination, constant hunger, weight loss, blurred vision, and extreme fatigue. If not diagnosed and treated with insulin, a person with type 1 diabetes can lapse into a life-threatening diabetic coma, also known as diabetic ketoacidosis.
[Excerpt taken from National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC).]

Risk Factors

  • Genetic or family history
  • Diseases of the pancreas
  • Infection or illness (in rare cases where infection damages the pancreas)


Type 2 Diabetes

The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes. About 90 to 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2. This form of diabetes is most often associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, previous history of gestational diabetes, physical inactivity, and certain ethnicities. About 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.

Type 2 diabetes is increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents, especially among African American, Mexican American, and Pacific Islander youth.

When type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, the pancreas is usually producing enough insulin, but for unknown reasons the body cannot use the insulin effectively, a condition called insulin resistance. After several years, insulin production decreases. The result is the same as for type 1 diabetes—glucose builds up in the blood and the body cannot make efficient use of its main source of fuel.

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes develop gradually. Their onset is not as sudden as in type 1 diabetes. Symptoms may include fatigue, frequent urination, increased thirst and hunger, weight loss, blurred vision, and slow healing of wounds or sores. Some people have no symptoms.
[Excerpt taken from National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC).]

To learn more about the natural history of type 2 diabetes, click here.

Risk Factors

  • Obesity or being overweight
  • Impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose
  • Insulin resistance
  • Ethnic background (diabetes is common in Hispanic/Latino Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and Alaska Natives)
  • High blood pressure
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Family History
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Age


Pre-diabetes

For more information on pre-diabetes, click here.

Gestational Diabetes

For more information on gestational diabetes, click here.

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