Diabetes Basics

What Are The Different Types Of Diabetes?

For purposes of this write-up, only the three main types shall be discussed. They are the following:

a) Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 - Also called juvenile onset diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), Type 1 diabetes is characterized by a decreased or outright absence of production of insulin. This is due to a disorder in the autoimmune response of the person, causing his own antibodies to attack the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.

Why this happens is a question that has continued to perplex scientists. The theories as to its cause are complex and unclear, involving genetics, viruses, diet and environmental factors such as chemicals.

People diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes require regular shots of insulin (with injections, pumps, or other methods) for without it, the result could be fatal. 10% of diabetics have this type of diabetes.

b) Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 - Also known as adult onset diabetes, obesity-related diabetes, or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), Type 2 diabetes results from the inability of the body’s cells to respond to insulin. As the disease progresses, the production of insulin in the body decreases.

Type 2 diabetes is sometimes manageable by weight reduction and exercise without need of insulin shots. However, as an initial treatment, doctors often prescribe oral medications and/or insulin.

This is the most common form of diabetes, affecting as much as 90% of people with diabetes. Like Type 1 diabetes, the causes of Type 2 are as of yet unknown or obscure, but evidence shows that it may be related to heredity, body weight, and lifestyle.

c) Gestational Diabetes - This is often called Type 3 diabetes although the designation is rarely used in medical practice. Gestation diabetes occurs among women during pregnancy and is similar to Type 2 diabetes in that it is a result of the cell’s resistance to insulin. The consequence is often abnormal increased fetal weight, increased surrounding amniotic fluid caused by increased fetal urination (called polyhydramnios), fetal jaundice and low blood sugars after delivery. On rare occasions, the condition has also been said to cause intra-uterine death.

There is a 40% probability that gestation diabetes will develop into full Type 2 diabetes.