Home  \  Diabetes >> Types of Diabetes

Types of Diabetes

There are different types of diabetes – type 1, type 2, and a condition called gestational diabetes. Diabetes may be treated with insulin, oral medications, exercise and meal planning. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to several complications, such as nerve damage, kidney or eye problems, heart disease, and stroke. But, if managed well, you can live a long, healthy life with diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

In type 1 diabetes, your immune system mistakenly destroys the beta-cells, which are the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Your body treats these beta-cells as foreign invaders and destroys them. The destruction can happen over a few weeks, months, or years. When enough beta cells are destroyed, your pancreas stops making insulin, or makes so little insulin that you need to take insulin to live.

Type 2 diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin-resistance. At first, the beta-cells make extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time your pancreas isn’t able to keep up and can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels. Some people with type 2 diabetes can manage their diabetes with healthy eating and exercise.

However, you may need oral medications (pills) and/or insulin to help you meet your target blood glucose levels.

Diabetes is a progressive disease – even if you don’t need to treat your diabetes with medications at first, you may need to over time.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes (GDM) is diabetes that develops during pregnancy. For most women, blood glucose levels will return to normal after giving birth. If you’ve had GDM you will need to be tested regularly since you are at much higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

What is pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a condition that comes before diabetes. It means your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but aren’t high enough to be called diabetes. There are no clear symptoms of pre-diabetes. You can have it and not know it. If I have pre-diabetes, what does it mean? It means you might get type 2 diabetes soon or down the road. You are also more likely to get heart disease or have a stroke. The good news is that you can take steps to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.

How can I delay or prevent type 2 diabetes?

You may be able to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes with:

  • Physical activity, like walking - Healthy food
  • Weight loss if needed
  • Taking medication, if your doctor prescribes it

If you have pre-diabetes, these steps may bring your blood glucose to a normal range.