Understanding the Different Types of Diabetes
NOVEMBER 01, 2012
Diabetes is a disease in which the body is unable to properly use and store glucose (a form of sugar). Glucose backs up in the bloodstream - causing one's blood glucose (sometimes referred to as blood sugar) to rise too high.
There are two major types of diabetes. In type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent diabetes), the body completely stops producing any insulin, a hormone that enables the body to use glucose found in foods for energy. People with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections to survive. This form of diabetes usually develops in children or young adults, but can occur at any age.
Type 2 diabetes (formerly called adult-onset or non insulin-dependent diabetes) results when the body doesn't produce enough insulin and/or is unable to use insulin properly (insulin resistance). This form of diabetes usually occurs in people who are over 40, overweight, and have a family history of diabetes, although today it is increasingly occurring in younger people, particularly adolescents.
Discussions of diabetes often include pre-diabetes. Though pre-diabetes is not actually diabetes, it is a serious condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as full-blown diabetes. Those with pre-diabetes are at much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes within a decade unless they adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Posted November 2012
Joslin Diabetes Center
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Boston, MA 02215