Understanding the Different Types of Diabetes

You should know more about the different types of diabetes. Diabetes is a long-term health problem that occurs when your pancreas produces insufficient or no insulin hormone. It can also occur when the cells are not responsive to insulin action. Any of these problems results in hyperglycemia – high blood sugar levels. When left untreated, high blood sugar can cause severe damage to the body’s system, especially nerves and blood vessels. Fortunately, if you have diabetes, your Cary Generations Family Practice healthcare provider can help you manage blood sugar and slow down disease progression. Here are the different types of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes occurs when your pancreas produces insufficient or no insulin to regulate blood sugar. It mostly appears during childhood and adolescence, but adults can also have this chronic disease. The exact cause of type 1 diabetes remains unknown, but it is an autoimmune disease – it occurs when your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks islets cells in the pancreas.

Signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes often appear suddenly; they include increased thirst, frequent urination, increased hunger, unintended weight loss, fatigue, blurry vision, and bedwetting in children who previously didn’t wet their beds. There is no cure for this disease, but treatments like insulin shots help patients manage their blood sugar.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is usually a result of two interrelated problems – the pancreas produces inadequate insulin, and the cells poorly respond to insulin, taking in less sugar. Most people that develop type 2 diabetes are older adults, hence the name adult-onset diabetes. However, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in younger people has risen due to the increase in children with obesity. Unlike type 1 diabetes, which causes sudden symptoms, the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes develop gradually. You may be having this disease for years without knowing it.

The good news is that you can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by exercising and staying within your ideal weight.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar during pregnancy that usually disappears after childbirth. Women can develop gestational diabetes at any pregnancy stage, common in the second or third trimester. When left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause problems for you and your unborn child. But the risk of preterm birth and overweight babies can be reduced upon early detection and treatment of the condition. Lifestyle changes like eating healthy foods and exercising may be enough to manage this disease, but sometimes healthcare providers prescribe medication.

Prediabetes

If you have prediabetes, your blood sugar levels are above average but not too high to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes usually causes no symptoms, but one possible sign is darker skin on specific body parts. Without lifestyle changes, patients with prediabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes which is irreversible.

Classic symptoms that indicate prediabetes has progressed to type 2 diabetes include increased hunger, frequent urination, fatigue, blurred vision, slow-healing sores, recurring infections, and unintended weight loss. The same risk factors for type 2 diabetes apply to prediabetes. They include weight, age, inactivity, and family history.

If you have any questions about diabetes, consult your provider at Generations Family Practice.

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