Understanding the Different Types of Diabetes

BIDMC Contributor

NOVEMBER 20, 2018

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 and causes a person’s blood glucose level (sometimes called blood sugar level) to rise too high.

There are two major types of diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body completely stops producing any insulin, a hormone that enables the body to use glucose. People with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections to regulate their blood sugar level. This form of diabetes usually develops in children or young adults, but can occur at any age.

Type 2 diabetes results when the body doesn't produce enough insulin and/or is unable to use insulin properly. 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 prediabetes. Though prediabetes is not actually diabetes, it is a serious condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Those with pre-diabetes are at much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Learn if you are at-risk for prediabetes.

The experts in BIDMC’s Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, together with Joslin Diabetes Center, provide patient-centered care to treat and manage diabetes. Learn more about the BIDMC services and our team.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.