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Know All Types Of Diabetes
Table of Contents
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes can be best defined as a group of conditions wherein your body cannot absorb and utilize the produced insulin, fails to produce enough or any insulin, or cannot do both. In any of these cases, your body cannot get glucose (a type of sugar in your blood) from your bloodstream into your cells, leading to high blood sugar (glucose) levels.
Since glucose is a primary energy source of your body, any resistance or lack of insulin can cause massive sugar build-up in your bloodstream, giving rise to numerous health problems. There are mainly 3 types of diabetes. These are Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes. Know more about high blood sugar symptoms.
Types of Diabetes
Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a metabolic disease where your body produces an excess amount of sugar. When you have diabetes, your body cannot produce enough insulin, a hormone that regulates the sugar levels in your body. The most common type of diabetes is type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The most common causes of diabetes in general are obesity, inactive lifestyle, insulin resistance, genes, and family history.
1. Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is a common type of diabetes where your pancreas produces little to no insulin. As a result, your sugar levels cannot be controlled. The main cause of type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune reaction of your body where it destroys the insulin-making cells in the pancreas called beta cells. As a result, your body produces excess glucose. Type 1 diabetes is also caused by genes or certain viruses. The symptoms of type 1 diabetes are frequent urination, excessive thirst, fatigue, hunger, and blurred vision. You are at higher risk of getting type 1 diabetes, if you are white, have a family history of type 1 diabetes, or are younger than 20 years of age.
2. Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is caused when your body cannot use insulin in the way it should. It is a lifelong disease and is mainly seen in middle-aged or older adults. If asked what is the most common type of diabetes, it is type 2 diabetes. The causes of type 2 diabetes are excessive weight, genes, metabolic syndrome, damaged beta cells, and excess glucose production in your liver. The symptoms of type 2 diabetes are thirst, fatigue, yeast infection, unexplained weight loss, and frequent urination. You are at high risk of type 2 diabetes if you are 45 years or above, prediabetic, have high blood pressure, or have a family history of type 2 diabetes. Also know about sugar in urine test.
Prediabetes is a condition when you have a blood sugar level between 100 and 125 mg/dL. The causes of prediabetes are the same as type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is the stage before type 2 diabetes. The symptoms of prediabetes are the same as type 2 diabetes but you might also have darkened body parts such as armpits, groin, and neck. You are at a high risk of getting prediabetes if you are overweight, leading an inactive life, have a family history of type 2 diabetes, or if you have gestational diabetes. Also know about pre diabetes levels.
4. Gestational Diabetes
If you want to know which type of diabetes occurs only during pregnancy, the answer is gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that affects pregnant women. However, the blood glucose level becomes normal after childbirth.
5. Maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY)
Maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY) is one among which type of diabetes is rare among people. It is caused by a mutation in your genes which prevents the pancreas from producing enough insulin. The symptoms of MODY are the same as type 1 and type 2 diabetes, although the treatment might be different. You are at a high chance of getting MODY if it runs in your family. Know about gestational diabetes treatment.
6. Neonatal Diabetes
Neonatal diabetes or Mellitus or NDM affects infants in the first 6 months of their life. It is monogenic or is controlled by a single gene. The infants cannot produce enough insulin and therefore have high levels of blood glucose. NDM is caused by genetic mutations or genetic inheritance from either father or mother. The symptoms of NDM are frequent urination and dehydration. Certain severe symptoms of NDM are ketoacidosis and intrauterine growth restriction. Infants who are born to mothers with diabetes, infants who are born prematurely, or infants with low birth weight are at risk of neonatal diabetes.
7. Alstrom Syndrome
If you ask which type of diabetes is the worst, the answer will be Alstrom syndrome. Alstrom syndrome is a condition that is characterised by type 2 diabetes, loss of hearing and vision, obesity, short stature, and cardiomyopathy. It might also lead to a skin disease called acanthosis nigricans where the skin becomes dark, thick, and velvety. It is caused by a mutation in the ALMS1 gene. Alstrom syndrome is genetic and 9000 people worldwide have been affected by it.
8. Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA)
Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults or LADA is similar to type 1 diabetes. It is caused by the inability of the pancreas to produce sufficient insulin. But unlike type 1 diabetes, you might not need insulin for a long time because LADA progresses slowly. The symptoms of LADA are increased urination, thirst, fatigue, dry skin, and high levels of sugar in urine. You are at high risk of getting LADA if you are overweight, if you are physically inactive, if you were low weight at birth and if you smoke and drink.
9. Type 3c Diabetes (or Pancreatogenic Diabetes)
Type 3c can be called the 3rd type of diabetes or pancreatogenic diabetes. It is caused by the pancreas' inability to produce insulin because of an injury, illness, surgery, or complete removal of the pancreas. The symptoms of type 3 diabetes are stomach pain, unexplained weight loss, diarrhoea, or frequently passing wind. People suffering from pancreatic conditions are more at risk of getting type 3c diabetes.
10. Steroid-induced Diabetes
You can develop steroid-induced diabetes when long-term consumption of steroids causes insulin resistance. As a result, your cells stop responding to insulin and blood glucose levels begin to rise. The symptoms of steroid-induced diabetes are the same as type 1 and type 2 diabetes. People who are on steroids for the long term are at high risk of developing steroid-induced diabetes.
11. Cystic Fibrosis Diabetes
The most common type of diabetes in people with cystic fibrosis (a genetic condition) is cystic fibrosis diabetes. It is caused by the build-up of sticky mucus on the pancreas causing inflammation and scarring. As a result, the cells get damaged and cannot produce enough insulin, leading to elevated glucose levels. The symptoms of cystic fibrosis diabetes are weight loss, chest infections, and fatigue. People with cystic fibrosis are at high risk of developing cystic fibrosis diabetes.
What Causes Diabetes?
Type 1 Diabetes Causes
Type 1 diabetes occurs when a person’s immune system mistakenly starts attacking the beta cells in the pancreas. These beta cells are responsible for producing the required insulin. While experts are yet to find the exact reason behind this attack, the damage caused by this autoimmune condition is considered permanent.
In many cases, these attacks can be triggered due to environmental and genetic factors, but lifestyle factors have little to do with Type 1 diabetes. So if your parents or anyone else in your family tree had Type 1 diabetes, you might develop a higher risk of Type 1 diabetes. However, a proper test would be required to determine the precise reasons behind diabetes in your case.
Type 2 Diabetes Causes
This diabetes starts as insulin resistance. In most cases, the patient’s body fails to use the insulin produced by the pancreas efficiently. It triggers the pancreas to make more insulin until it can no longer keep up with the demand. In later stages, insulin production starts decreasing, resulting in high blood sugar levels.
While the exact causative factor of Type 2 diabetes is still unknown, some known contributing factors include a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and genetics. Environmental factors can also be at play in some cases, but it can only be confirmed after a proper diabetes test.
One of the primary causes behind gestational diabetes is the insulin-blocking hormones produced during pregnancy. Of all the different types of diabetes, gestational diabetes only occurs during pregnancy. Women whose family tree had diabetes cases or pregnant women who already had pre-existing prediabetes are more prone to getting gestational diabetes. It is believed that a significant portion of gestational diabetes patients later develop Type 2 diabetes. But it can be avoided if the doctor's advice is diligently followed. Read more about diabetes causes.
What are the Symptoms?
Now that you’re aware of what are the types of diabetes and their causes, let’s quickly look at their symptoms. Knowing the symptoms can help you approach your doctor for timely treatment.
Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms
The common symptoms of Type 1 diabetes include diabetic ketoacidosis and weight loss. For the uninitiated, diabetic ketoacidosis is a condition wherein your body has significantly high blood sugar levels, but little to no insulin. The following symptoms are also associated with Type 1 diabetes:
- Feeling more thirsty than usual
- Blurry vision
- Frequent urination
- Sudden mood swings
- Bed-wetting (in children)
Although the symptoms of any diabetes type can occur in people of all ages, the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes primarily appear among children and young adults.
Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms
Since Type 2 diabetes takes longer to diagnose, many symptoms may start to appear during the diagnosis stage. Some common symptoms associated with Type 2 diabetes include:
- Slow-healing sores
- Increased thirst
- Blurry vision
- Frequent infections
- Numbness or tingling sensation in feet or hands
- Darkened areas in folds of your skin, particularly in and around your armpits and neck
Even if you notice a few symptoms, you can contact your doctor for a quick Type 2 diabetes diagnostic test.
Gestational Diabetes Symptoms
Since gestational diabetes only occurs during pregnancy, only pregnant women should contact a doctor for a gestational diabetes diagnosis test. In most cases, gestational diabetes doesn’t come with noticeable symptoms. But if you notice any common diabetes symptoms listed above in the case of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, you can contact your doctor. Know about medications for diabetes.
What are the Potential Complications?
If a patient develops one of the 3 types of diabetes, some complications can grow with time. Poorly managed blood sugar levels can lead to intense health complications if proper treatment and due attention is not given. Some chronic complications can also lead to death.
Complications for all Diabetic People
In general diabetes cases, chronic diabetes leads to the following complications:
- Eye problems (retinopathy)
- Kidney damage (nephropathy)
- Vessel disease leading to stroke or heart attack
- Amputations due to neuropathy
- Infection or skin conditions
- Nerve damage (neuropathy)
People with Type 2 diabetes can also notice an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s can be high if you have poorly managed blood glucose levels.
Complications Of Diabetes During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant and diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you may be prone to developing the following health complications:
- Congenital disabilities in child
- High blood pressure
- Miscarriage or stillbirth
Proper health check-ups throughout pregnancy and sticking to a healthy and active lifestyle can help reduce the chances of developing gestational diabetes and its potential health complications.
Ways to Manage and Reverse Your Diabetes
There are different types of diabetes, and each has its own treatment plan. The best way to manage or even reverse your diabetes is by working closely with your doctor. Throughout the treatment, the biggest goal is maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and keeping them within the target range. Also know how to reverse prediabetes.
The ideal blood sugar level is determined by multiple factors like the patient’s age, diabetes type, probability of health complications, etc., so your doctor will communicate your target blood sugar levels after assessing your health condition. Physical activity and a healthy diet will be crucial in managing or reversing diabetes. You can learn more about managing each diabetes type by reading along.
Managing or Reversing Type 1 Diabetes
In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas gets permanently damaged, so natural insulin production stops. It is why Type 1 diabetes patients have to take insulin to lead a healthy life. Insulin is generally injected into the body by releasing it under the skin. It is done with a clean syringe. The market offers different insulin types with varying times of duration, peak, and onset.
But insulin pumps are now available, which can be used to timely release a specific dosage into your body. These pumps are advanced devices worn outside your body. If you take insulin through injections, your doctor will show you the correct ways to inject insulin and rotate injection sites.
Frequent blood sugar monitoring is a must for people with Type 1 diabetes. People with Type 1 diabetes can also use a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), a device attached to your body, helping you monitor your glucose levels 24*7 for better blood sugar management. You may also have to take some medications diligently, depending on your health condition. These medications generally help with managing high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other health complications. Also read about can diabetes be cured.
Managing or Reversing Type 2 Diabetes
If you have Type 2 diabetes, reversing the situation is entirely possible. You must follow a strict diet and exercise routine regularly for an extended period to reverse Type 2 diabetes condition. Medications can also be used to manage or reverse Type 2 diabetes. Metformin is the first line of medication given to patients to control the condition.
This medicine works by reducing glucose production in your liver. The doctor can prescribe other medications if metformin doesn’t work. But you will have to monitor your glucose levels frequently and ensure they don’t cross the desired target levels. Additional medicines can also be recommended to control cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Similar activities and due course can be followed to manage gestational diabetes.
Different kinds of diabetes are caused by different reasons. Although diabetes is not curable, it can be controlled for a better quality of living. You can manage your diabetes with a regular checkup, a healthy diet, and medication. An active lifestyle with regular exercise can also help you to control and manage a healthy blood glucose level.
1. Which Type of Diabetes is rarest among people?
Maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY) and Alstrom syndrome are types of diabetes that are rare among people.
2. Which Type of Diabetes is most dangerous?
Alstrom syndrome is a rare but more dangerous type of diabetes because it can lead to hearing and vision loss, cardiomyopathy, and a short life expectancy.
3. How common is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a common disease nowadays, with approximately 537 million adults living with diabetes presently.
4. Can Type 2 Diabetes be Cured?
No, Type 2 diabetes cannot be entirely cured. But you can switch to a healthy and active lifestyle to better manage your condition. Regular exercises and a nutrient-dense diet can help bring your blood sugar to healthy levels. In some cases, medicines can also be suggested to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
5. What is the Highest Stage of Diabetes?
Call it high-stage diabetes or end-stage diabetes; it is generally referred to as the stage when patients develop advanced or end-stage diabetes health complications. If a patient has been living with diabetes for many years and takes little effort to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, he may reach the end stage where severe complications like end-stage renal disease can develop.
6. What are Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3 Diabetes?
Although people have higher than normal blood sugar levels in all three conditions, there is a difference between them. Type 1 diabetes is a genetic condition, whereas Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle-related condition that develops over time. Type 3 diabetes is a term used by some medical experts to describe Alzheimer’s disease caused by insulin resistance.
This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.