Diabetes can lead to serious difficulties with your overall health, impacting or causing many conditions such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nerve disease or even amputation, but by learning to manage your diabetes you can have a better quality of life.
There are four main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, gestational diabetes and pre-diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is often called insulin dependent or juvenile diabetes. Most cases of type 1 diabetes are diagnosed in people under the age of 30. Type 1 diabetic patients have very little or no insulin, which makes them dependent on insulin injections to live.
The cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, but a family history of diabetes, viruses that injure the pancreas and the autoimmune processes may be a factor.p
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is called non-insulin-dependent diabetes or adult onset diabetes. These patients’ bodies continue to make insulin but not in adequate amounts or their body has become unresponsive to its effects. When diagnosed, people with type 2 diabetes often have both high glucose levels and high insulin levels, but they may not have any symptoms. Type 2 diabetes normally occurs later in life, and may affect people who are overweight and sedentary.
Risk factors include:
- Lack of exercise
- Family history of diabetes
- Ethnicity: African-American, Hispanic-American, Native American, Asian-American, Pacific Islander
- Gestational diabetes during pregnancy or baby weighing more than 9 pounds
- High blood pressure
- High triglycerides, high cholesterol, low HDL
Pre-diabetes is described as a person having glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. Usually people who have pre-diabetes do not exhibit symptoms but, if they do not lower their glucose levels, they are at risk of developing diabetes. It is a good idea to be tested for pre-diabetes if you have any of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is a form of hyperglycemia that can occur in the late stages of pregnancy. Often women are screened for gestational diabetes between their 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. When gestational diabetes is not taken care of babies tend to be larger than normal, can have low glucose levels, or be born prematurely. Gestational diabetes most often is temporary and goes away after the baby’s birth, but both the mother and children have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Women who have gestational diabetes with one pregnancy can also experience it with later pregnancies.