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What All You Need to Know About Types of Diabetes?

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What All You Need to Know About Types of Diabetes?

Endocrinology | by Dr. Kalyan Kumar Gangopadhyay | Published on 01/03/2023



Have you been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes? Do you feel nervous? Well, you may feel scared and confused initially when the doctor diagnoses you with diabetes. However, the moment you know what diabetes is and how to deal with it, you will feel better. You must take your condition seriously and immediately start the treatment.

There are more than 25 million people who have diabetes plus more than 7 million who do not even know that they have diabetes. With each year the number of people who have diabetes is increasing and some individuals do not know the difference in the types of diabetes there is. Although people are aware of what diabetes means, not many know what diabetes is or what the symptoms are. Diabetes is a serious disease that can be life-threatening if not treated properly.

In this blog, you will find a detailed discussion on diabetes including its types so keep reading till the end.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that occurs when the pancreatic beta cells are incapable to produce enough amounts of insulin, or the body is unable to utilize the insulin as it is supposed to. Secreted in the pancreas, insulin is a hormone that extracts glucose from the food we eat and transports it to the different cells in the body through the bloodstream. Secreted in the pancreas, insulin is a hormone that extracts glucose from the food we eat and transports it to the different cells in the body through the bloodstream. Diabetes can develop in any individual at any age. 

What are the types of diabetes?

The main types of diabetes include:

  • Type 1 diabetes: Affects the pancreas
  • Type 2 diabetes: Most common diabetes and can develop at any age.
  • Gestational diabetes: This special type of diabetes is found in women during their pregnancy. The best thing is it disappears after the delivery of a baby from the body of the pregnant lady. It is very important to manage this type as it can cause several other serious health problems.

What is type 1 diabetes?

This is an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks the beta cells in the pancreas itself, the cells that produce insulin, and this causes the pancreas to produce insufficient insulin or not at all. Therefore, the glucose that emerges from the food we consume does not convert to energy. It immediately elevates the glucose level and thrashes the cells. It mostly occurs either by birth or during early childhood ages. Hence, it is also known as juvenile or early-onset diabetes. 

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes as millions are diagnosed with it every year. Enough insulin is not produced in this type, or the body's cell completely pays no attention to the insulin. You can easily control this type with some lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise; if this does not help medication is prescribed.

What are the symptoms of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes?

The symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are almost similar and include:

  • Feeling always thirsty
  • Frequent urination
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Presence of ketones in the urine
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Irritability and mood changes
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Infections in the gum, skin and vaginal area

What are gestational diabetes and its symptoms?

Gestational diabetes generally forms in pregnant women around 24 weeks, doctors will test around the 26th week. Being diagnosed during pregnancy with this type does not mean that you had diabetes when you conceived. Around 18% of females are affected by this. The hormones from the placenta that help with developing the baby can affect the mother's insulin where not enough is made. If left unchecked, it can affect the baby causing macrosomia.

What are the causes of types of diabetes?

There are varied causes associated with every type of diabetes.

Type 1

The causes of this type are still not known. The immune system for some reason unknowingly attacks and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas responsible for producing insulin. It is believed that genes might play a role in some individuals.

Type 2

The cause of this type is that it stems from an amalgamation of lifestyle and genetic factors. If you are obese, then you are at a higher risk of developing this disease.

Gestational diabetes

This type occurs as a result of hormonal changes during pregnancy. The placenta forms hormones that make a pregnant female cell sensitive to insulin effects. It causes high blood sugar during pregnancy. Females who are obese or gain weight during pregnancy are more vulnerable to experiencing gestational diabetes.

How is diabetes diagnosed?

Your doctor to diagnose diabetes will need to check your blood sugar levels. Here are tests that might be ordered to confirm diabetes:

  • A1C test- This test involves taking out the sample of blood and you don’t need to fast. It will help the doctor to identify your average glucose levels over the past 2-3 months

  • Random blood glucose test- It also doesn’t require fasting and if your glucose levels are 200 mg/dL, it is an indication of diabetes
  • Fasting blood glucose test- This test requires you to fast for around eight hours so that blood can be drawn the next morning to check the glucose levels.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test- It involves eight hours of fasting the night before testing. It assists the doctor to check your glucose levels. After the blood is drawn, the doctor will ask you to drink a sugary liquid. After an hour, the glucose levels are checked and might be repeated three times after every hour to confirm diabetes.
  • Tests for gestational diabetes- In this test, you will be asked to drink a sugary liquid so that blood can be drawn for testing.
  • Other tests- If your doctor suspects type 1 diabetes, then he/she might order testing for autoantibodies.

What is the treatment for diabetes?

The treatment option for type 1 diabetes are:

Type 1 diabetes treatment

The major treatment for type 1 diabetes is taking insulin regularly. People who have diabetes need insulin injections every day to manage their levels of blood sugar. It is important to keep an eye on maintaining and checking blood sugar levels. Having a healthy amount of blood sugar assists in preventing or delaying the complications related to diabetes. Along with checking the blood sugar levels and injecting insulin, you must ensure:

  • Eat a healthy diet eating a healthful diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Control your blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Practice good sleep hygiene

Type 2 diabetes treatment

Type 2 diabetes can be managed at home easily with support from a healthcare team. Some people may need intervention depending on their symptoms and condition. The doctor might recommend injectable insulin, other injectable medication, and oral diabetes medicines. The medications are given to manage blood sugar levels and avoid complications. If you have type 2 diabetes, then make sure to monitor your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels on a regular basis.

Conclusion

Having diabetes simply means that you have to spend your life managing it. Currently, there is no cure to treat diabetes, but with lifestyle changes, you can manage your blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of complications. If lifestyle changes and dietary changes are not helpful, speak to your doctor as they can prescribe medications suitable for you. The only and foremost thing you need to do in your mind is managing your blood sugar levels because if complications arise, then they can be life-threatening.

FAQs

 

How many types of diabetes are there?

There are three types of diabetes which include type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.

Which type of diabetes is genetic?

Type 1 diabetes in most cases and type 2 diabetes are also considered to be genetic, but there is no clearer evidence of it.

Which type of diabetes is more common?

Type 2 diabetes is more common in more than 90-95% of diabetes cases. It grows over many years and is often diagnosed in adulthood.

What are the signs of type 1 diabetes in adults?

The signs of type 1 diabetes in adults are:

  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Feeling thirsty often
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Itchiness around the genital area