Three Types of Diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 & Gestational Diabetes

Diabetes comes in different types namely Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body does not sufficiently produce or fails to properly use insulin. The body normally gets its main source of energy from glucose, which is a simple sugar derived from foods rich in simple carbohydrates such as table sugar and other sweeteners like honey, jams, jellies, molasses, cookies and soft drinks. It also includes the breakdown of complex carbohydrates like starch with sources such as as bread, pasta and potatoes. Sugars and starch are then converted into glucose and enter the bloodstream.

Glucose is needed by the body for its everyday activities. However, the body needs a carrier that would get glucose to reach the muscles and other parts of the body from the bloodstream. This is where the hormone insulin comes into play. Insulin is produced by the pancreas, a gland found behind the stomach. If there is no insulin, glucose cannot enter into the cells of the body. Instead, it builds up in the blood at high levels and is excreted into the urine.

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of health related deaths in the world. In fact, it ranks the seventh among the deadly diseases in the United States. Diabetes can pose serious complications that may lead to blindness, heart disease, kidney failure and amputations in the lower extremity.

Type 1
Type 1 diabetes is also known as insulin dependent diabetes, in which the person having this type of disease is unable to produce insulin and thus have to take insulin in order to survive. Blood glucose levels are also sensitive to slight changes in insulin dose, diet and exercise. It is characterized by quick thirstiness, frequent urination and drastic weight loss. Type 1 diabetes is usually most common in children and young adults and can occur suddenly, often following an illness. There is still no cure for Type 1 diabetes, although it can be controlled through insulin shots and proper self-care.

Type 2
Type 2 diabetes differs from type 1 diabetes such that the body produces insulin, but is not enough for the body to efficiently use. Considered as adult-onset diabetes, it considered as the most common type of diabetes that usually occurs in people over forty years old. Type 2 diabetes may also be caused by genetics, obesity and lack of exercise.

Treatment of Type 2 diabetes can vary at different phases of the condition. In its early stages, blood glucose levels can be controlled through exercise and a proper diet. Subsequently, you may need oral medication such as Metformin and insulin shots. If left untreated, type 2 diabetes can lead to serious complications such as heart and kidney disease, lower extremity amputation and blindness.

Gestational Diabetes
On the other hand, pregnant women can be affected with gestational diabetes. This usually occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin and blocks the hormone's action due to hormones. Usually, this type of diabetes ends after childbirth, although some women having gestational diabetes continue to carry the disease as they get older.

Usually, gestational diabetes does not cause birth defects, but a mother who is affected by this disease may give birth to a child that is unusually larger than normal. Also, there is the risk that the baby may have low blood sugar count after its birth. Studies have shown that about forty percent of women with gestational diabetes can develop type 2 diabetes. It is important for women who may have had this kind of diabetes to see a doctor and be checked for type 2 diabetes. This condition can be controlled with proper diet, although insulin shots may be required in some women. This condition cannot be treated with pills as it may harm the baby.

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