Types Of Diabetes

In the simplest terms . . . diabetes mellitus (commonly referred to as just
"diabetes") is a blood sugar disease . . . a disease in which the body either does not produce or does not properly utilize insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Because diabetics have a problem with insulin, their body's can't use glucose (blood sugar) for energy, which results in elevated blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) and the eventual urination of sugar out of their bodies. As a result . . . diabetics can literally starve themselves to death.

There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 ("insulin-dependent" and previously called "juvenile diabetes"). Type 1 diabetes is associated with a malfunctioning pancreas which does not produce adequate amounts of insulin. It develops most often in children and young adults. Type 1 diabetes is traditionally treated with insulin.
  • Type 2 ("noninsulin-dependent" or sometomes called "adult-onset diabetes"). Type 2 diabetes is associated with insulin resistant cells. It is much more common and usually develops in older adults. Type 2 diabetes is now being found at younger ages and is even being diagnosed among children and teens.
  • Gestational (pregnancy-related). Some women develop diabetes during pregnancy usually toward the end of pregnancy. It effects approximately 3 to 5 percent of all pregnant women. Although it goes away after pregnancy, these women have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.