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Type 1 diabetes may also be known by a variety of other names, including the following:
There are two forms of type 1 diabetes:
Immune-mediated diabetes is the most common form of type 1 diabetes, and the one generally referred to as type 1 diabetes. The information on this page refers to this form of type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5 to 10 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in the US. Type 1 diabetes usually develops in children or young adults, but can start at any age.
The cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, but it is believed that genetic and environmental factors (possibly viruses) may be involved. The body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin allows glucose to enter the cells of the body to provide energy.
When glucose cannot enter the cells, it builds up in the blood, depriving the cells of nutrition. People with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections and regularly monitor their blood sugar levels.
Type 1 diabetes often appears suddenly. The following are the most common symptoms of type 1 diabetes. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
In children, symptoms may be similar to those of having the flu.
The symptoms of type 1 diabetes may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
Type 1 diabetes can cause many different problems. However, the three key complications of diabetes include the following:
Specific treatment for type 1 diabetes will be determined by your physician based on:
People with type 1 diabetes must have daily injections of insulin to keep their blood sugar level within normal ranges. Other parts of the treatment protocol may include:
Advances in diabetes research have led to improved methods of managing diabetes and treating its complications. However, scientists continue to explore the causes of diabetes and ways to prevent and treat the disorder. Other methods of administering insulin through inhalers and pills are currently being studied. Scientists are investigating gene involvement in type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and some genetic markers for type 1 diabetes have been identified. Pancreas and islet cell transplants are also being performed.
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder resulting from the body's inability to make enough, or to properly use, insulin. It used to be called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM).
Without adequate production or utilization of insulin, the body cannot move blood sugar into the cells. It is a chronic disease that has no known cure. It is the most common type of diabetes, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of diabetes cases.
Type 2 diabetes is commonly preceded by prediabetes. In prediabetes, blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be defined as diabetes. However, many people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years, states the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Prediabetes also increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. With modest weight loss and moderate physical activity, people with prediabetes can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.
Prediabetes affects 79 million people in the US, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
The exact cause of type 2 diabetes is unknown. However, there does appear to be a genetic factor which causes it to run in families. And, although a person can inherit a tendency to develop type 2 diabetes, it usually takes another factor, such as obesity, to bring on the disease.
Type 2 diabetes may be prevented or delayed by following a program to eliminate or reduce risk factors - particularly losing weight and increasing exercise. Information gathered by the Diabetes Prevention Program, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the American Diabetes Association, continues to study this possibility.
The following are the most common symptoms of type 2 diabetes. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Some people who have type 2 diabetes exhibit no symptoms. Symptoms may be mild and almost unnoticeable, or easy to confuse with signs of aging. Half of all Americans who have diabetes do not know it.
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include the following:
Specific treatment for type 2 diabetes will be determined by your physician based on:
The goal of treatment is to keep blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. Emphasis is on control of blood sugar (glucose) by monitoring the levels, regular physical activity, meal planning, and routine healthcare. Treatment of diabetes is an ongoing process of management and education that includes not only the person with diabetes, but also healthcare professionals and family members.
Often, type 2 diabetes can be controlled through losing weight, improved nutrition, and exercise alone. However, in some cases, these measures are not enough and either oral medications and/or insulin must be used. Treatment often includes:
Untreated or inappropriately-treated diabetes can cause problems with the kidneys, legs, feet, eyes, heart, nerves, and blood flow, which could lead to kidney failure, gangrene, amputation, blindness, or stroke. For these reasons, it is important to follow a strict treatment plan.
Gestational diabetes is a condition in which the glucose level is elevated and other diabetic symptoms appear during pregnancy in a woman who has not previously been diagnosed with diabetes. All diabetic symptoms disappear following delivery.
Unlike type 1 diabetes, gestational diabetes is not caused by a lack of insulin, but by blocking effects of other hormones on the insulin that is produced, a condition referred to as insulin resistance.
Accodring to the ADA, approximately 4 to 8 percent of all pregnant women in the United States are diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Although the cause of gestational diabetes is not known, there are some theories as to why the condition occurs.
The placenta supplies a growing fetus with nutrients and water, as well as produces a variety of hormones to maintain the pregnancy. Some of these hormones (estrogen, cortisol, and human placental lactogen) can have a blocking effect on insulin. This is called contra-insulin effect, which usually begins about 20 to 24 weeks into the pregnancy.
As the placenta grows, more of these hormones are produced, and insulin resistance becomes greater. Normally, the pancreas is able to make additional insulin to overcome insulin resistance, but when the production of insulin is not enough to overcome the effect of the placental hormones, gestational diabetes results.
Although any woman can develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, some of the factors that may increase the risk include the following:
Although increased glucose in the urine is often included in the list of risk factors, it is not believed to be a reliable indicator for gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes maybe diagnosed with a glucose screening test, which involves drinking a glucose drink followed by measurement of blood sugar levels after one hour.
If this test shows a blood sugar level baove a certain number, a three-hour glucose tolerance test may be performed after a few days of following a special diet. If results of the second test are in the abnormal range, gestational diabetes is diagnosed.
Specific treatment for gestational diabetes will be determined by your physician based on:
Treatment for gestational diabetes focuses on keeping blood glucose levels in the normal range. Treatment may include:
Unlike type 1 diabetes, gestational diabetes generally does not cause birth defects. Birth defects usually originate sometime during the first trimester (before the 13th week) of pregnancy. But, the insulin resistance from the contra-insulin hormones produced by the placenta does not usually occur until approximately the 24th week. Women with gestational diabetes generally have normal blood sugar levels during the critical first trimester.
The complications of gestational diabetes are usually manageable and preventable. The key to prevention is careful control of blood sugar levels just as soon as the diagnosis of gestational diabetes is made.
Infants of mothers with gestational diabetes are vulnerable to several chemical imbalances, such as low serum calcium and low serum magnesium levels, but, in general, there are two major problems of gestational diabetes: macrosomia and hypoglycemia.