What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a long-lasting disease that affects how your body is able to turn food into energy. In short, the food we eat becomes glucose (or sugar) and is released into our bloodstream. When our sugar goes up, our body releases insulin in order to let that sugar into our cell’s for energy.
The problem is, if you have diabetes, your body either has trouble producing insulin, or doesn’t know how to use the insulin as well as it should. Overtime, if your insulin isn’t working and too much sugar remains in your blood, it could cause serious health complications such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
Types of Diabetes
There are three main types of diabetes type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
The first type of diabetes, type 1, is often sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes are often found in children or teens; however, they can be found in adults as well.
Type 1 Diabetes is thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction that stops the body from making insulin. Despite years of active research on type 1 diabetes, there is no known cure to the disease. Treatment typically focuses on managing blood sugar through insulin injections, as well as diet and lifestyle improvements.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes on the other hand is different. Type 2 happens when your body either resists the effects of insulin, or doesn’t make enough insulin to balance sugar levels. Although the onset of type 2 diabetes is known to occur later on in life, or to adults, it is being seen more and more often in children due to the increase of childhood obesity.
Just like with Type 1 Diabetes, there is no known cure for type 2 diabetes either, although in minor cases making modifictations to improve diet and exercise can help manage the condition. In more further along cases of type 2 Diabetes, treatment may require diabetic medication or insulin therapy.
The third type of diabetes is quite a bit different than type 1 and type 2. Gestational Diabetes is a type that occurs in women during pregnancy who weren’t previously diabetic. During pregnancy, a woman’s body increases the amount of hormones it produces and goes through other changes like weight gain. These changes make it more difficult for the cells in the body to use insulin effectively. This inability of cells to use insulin effectively is commonly known as insulin resistance, and is common among women in the late stages of pregnancy.
In the United States, the estimated number of adults with diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes is 30.2 million, which is between 27.9 and 32.7 percent of the population. It’s important to know the different types of diabetes in order to properly manage the condition. By determining the type of diabetes and applying a healthy diabetes management plan, further health complications could be avoided.