Medically, there are about 5 different types of diabetes, but the 3 main types that have been categorised by medical scientists are: Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes and Gestational diabetes.
1. Type 1 Diabetes (Formerly Known As Juvenile Diabetes)
This type begins to make its appearance in pre-adolescence or adolescent growth and affects about 10% of all people with diabetes.
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas fails to produce insulin and insulin injections are required for life (otherwise said to be an insulin dependent autoimmune disease).
The cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, but it is thought to be an auto-immune process.
In effect, the body produces antibodies to the pancreas, damaging it and preventing it producing insulin.
Type 1 diabetes is always treated with insulin. There are many different types of insulin delivery mechanisms and your healthcare professional will help to decide the right mechanism for you. If you are on insulin you should discuss the most appropriate one for you with your care team.
This disease generally appears after 40 years of age and it is most likely triggered by poor diet and lack of exercise. But because of poor diets and the availability of fast food, Type II diabetes is now showing up in teenagers – especially if they are overweight and lacking in physical activity.
Type 2 diabetes is strongly linked to obesity and tends to run in families. It is more prevalent in people of South Asian and Afro-Caribbean descent. Many people with type 2 diabetes have high blood pressure and cholesterol and may need tablets to control these too.
The backbone of treating type 2 diabetes is always healthy eating plus physical activity.
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition and, in time, tablets and/or other forms of medication are likely to become necessary and may even progress to insulin injections.
Gestational Diabetes is the third type of diabetes. Occurring during a woman’s pregnancy, the mother has difficulty digesting carbohydrates. Gynecologists usually perform this test on all pregnant women early in the first trimester.
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