Types of Diabetes - Type 1, 2 and Gestational

By: Dr John Anne

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that is caused when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to naturally turn sugars ingested into your body into energy. There are three major types of diabetes.

Type-1 Diabetes

This type of diabetes is an autoimmune disease – which is a result of the body’s failure to fight infection. As a result, the body begins to attack its own cells – in this case the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. The body destroys the beta cells and no insulin is produced. People with type-1 diabetes have to take insulin shots daily in order to live.

The causes of type-1 diabetes are not known, however autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors are believed to play a role in the onset of type-1 diabetes. This type of diabetes can affect people of any age, but most often is found in children and young adults. Symptoms of type-1 diabetes include increased thirst and urination, constant hunger, blurred vision, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue. An early diagnosis of type-1 diabetes is very important. Without daily injections of insulin, a person with this type of diabetes is at a high risk of lapsing into a diabetic coma, a life-threatening condition.

Type-2 Diabetes

This type of diabetes is the most common type. Type-2 diabetes usually affects adults who are obese, have a family history of diabetes, or have a previous history of gestational diabetes. Type-2 diabetes is not caused by the body’s inability to produce insulin, but rather by the body’s inability to use the insulin it creates effectively. This causes the blood to have higher levels of sugars than normal.

The symptoms of type-2 diabetes include frequent thirst and urination, nausea, unexplained weight loss, frequent infections, wounds and sores heal slowly, and fatigue.

This type of diabetes can often be prevented or controlled with certain lifestyle changes, including a healthy diet and regular exercise. Some patients need to take medications and many use natural treatments to effectively control the symptoms of type-2 diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes

This type of diabetes occurs in pregnant women and is caused by an intolerance to carbohydrates, which causes blood sugar levels to increase. It is very important for a woman who has gestational diabetes to control the disease in order to prevent the baby from being affected at birth. If the blood sugar levels in the pregnant woman are not under control, there is a risk of the baby going into insulin shock at birth.

Gestational diabetes risk factors include a family history of diabetes, increased maternal age, and obesity. While the symptoms of gestational diabetes usually disappear after the birth, there are significant risks to both the mother and child. The mother is at a higher risk of developing type-2 diabetes at a later time and the child is at a higher risk of being obese or developing diabetes later in life.

Preventing the Onset of Diabetes

Many times, diabetes can be prevented or the onset can be delayed.

All three types of diabetes can be controlled effectively by changes in your lifestyle. A healthy diet is the most important change – eating healthy foods on a normal schedule allows your body to perform the tasks necessary to sustain life. A healthy diet should consist of plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, fiber, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Once a person has been diagnosed with any type of diabetes, the intake of carbohydrates should be monitored and the intake of sugars should be greatly reduced.

Regular exercise is also important for your overall health. Keeping your body in good working order by keeping muscles toned and blood flowing correctly also helps your body to perform its normal tasks. It is important for early diagnosis and effective treatment of diabetes in order to avoid more serious illness and diseases that can be associated with diabetes such as heart disease and stroke. Diabetics are at a higher risk of developing many other diseases and illnesses, but the most important thing to remember is that if you work with your body, your body will work for you.

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