Diabetes happens when your body isn’t able to take up sugar (glucose) into its cells and use it for energy. This results in a buildup of extra sugar in your bloodstream.
Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to serious consequences, causing damage to a wide range of your body’s organs and tissues – including your heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves.
If you have diabetes:
Your pancreas doesn’t make any insulin or enough insulin.
Your pancreas makes insulin but your body’s cells don’t respond to it and can’t use it as it normally should.
If glucose can’t get into your body’s cells, it stays in your bloodstream and your blood glucose level rises.
MAJOR DIFFERENT TYPES OF DIABETES
Type 1 diabetes:
This type is an autoimmune disease, meaning your body attacks itself. In this case, the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas are destroyed. Up to 10% of people who have diabetes have Type 1.
It’s usually diagnosed in children and young adults (but can develop at any age). It was once better known as “juvenile” diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes:
With this type, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or your body’s cells don’t respond normally to the insulin. This is the most common type of diabetes. Up to 95% of people with diabetes have Type 2. It usually occurs in middle-aged and older people.
This type is the stage before Type 2 diabetes. Your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be officially diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
This type develops in some women during their pregnancy. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy. However, if you have gestational diabetes you’re at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later on in life.
RISK FACTORS FOR PEOPLE WITH TYPE 1 DIABETES
Factors that increase your risk differ depending on the type of diabetes you ultimately develop.
Risk factors for Type 1 diabetes include
Risk factors for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes include:
Risk factors for gestational diabetes include:
CAUSES OF DIABETES
The cause of diabetes, regardless of the type, is having too much glucose circulating in your bloodstream. However, the reason why your blood glucose levels are high differs depending on the type of diabetes.
Causes of Type 1 diabetes: This is an immune system disease. Your body attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in your pancreas. Without insulin to allow glucose to enter your cells, glucose builds up in your bloodstream. Genes may also play a role in some patients. Also, a virus may trigger the immune system attack.
Cause of Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes: Your body’s cells don’t allow insulin to work as it should to let glucose into its cells. Your body’s cells have become resistant to insulin. Your pancreas can’t keep up and make enough insulin to overcome this resistance. Glucose levels rise in your bloodstream.
Gestational diabetes: Hormones produced by the placenta during your pregnancy make your body’s cells more resistant to insulin. Your pancreas can’t make enough insulin to overcome this resistance. Too much glucose remains in your bloodstream.
COMPLICATIONS OF DIABETES
If your blood glucose level remains high over a long period of time, your body’s tissues and organs can be seriously damaged. Some complications can be life-threatening over time.
DIAGNOSIS OF DIABETES
Diabetes is diagnosed and managed by checking your glucose level in a blood test. There are three tests that can measure your blood glucose level: fasting glucose test, random glucose test and A1c test.