Getting To Know More About Diabetes
November 8, 2013

Getting To Know More About Diabetes

November is American Diabetes Month, which means that this is a month to spread awareness and information about diabetes. I recently posted about risks and prevention, but I thought a blog discussing the different types of diabetes would also be a helpful way to get some awareness on. To that end, three main types of diabetes affect people: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. However, there is also a disease called prediabetes that many suffer from before they actually receive a diabetes diagnosis. Now, let’s look a little deeper at these.

For starters, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) says that prediabetes is a condition whereby people have “blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.” Those who develop type 2 diabetes almost always start with prediabetes, which is often referred to as impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Basically, prediabetes is the precursor to type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes with 90-95 percent of people who have diabetes having type 2 as the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), explains. People with this form are often overweight or obese. Type 2 diabetes is also associated with those who fall into certain categories including:

  • Older age
  • Obesity
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Previous history of gestational diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
  • Member of certain ethnicities

The NIDDK further explains: “When type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, the pancreas is usually producing enough insulin, but for unknown reasons the body cannot use the insulin effectively, a condition called insulin resistance. After several years, insulin production decreases. The result is the same as for type 1 diabetes—glucose builds up in the blood and the body cannot make efficient use of its main source of fuel.”

Gestational Diabetes is a temporary type of diabetes that many women develop during pregnancy. The ADA webpage on gestational diabetes reports that gestational diabetes usually manifests around the 24th week. “A diagnosis of gestational diabetes doesn’t mean that you had diabetes before you conceived, or that you will have diabetes after giving birth. But it’s important to follow your doctor’s advice regarding blood glucose (blood sugar) levels while you’re planning your pregnancy, so you and your baby both remain healthy.” If a woman is diagnosed with gestational diabetes, she will likely not be diabetic after the birth of her baby. However, it is still a disease that demands action and attention.

The final type of diabetes is type 1 diabetes, which redOrbit explains “Type 1 diabetes develops when your body makes little or no insulin. When this happens, glucose can’t get into the cells for energy and remains in the blood, causing hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).” Usually, people develop this type before the age of 30, but it can occur in older adults. Only about five percent of those with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. For the most part, the predisposition for type 1 diabetes is inherited, and environmental factors influence development as well.

Each type of diabetes may lead to different health issues. At the very least, each requires changes in diet, exercise, and medication. It is important to know the differences in order to best know how to prevent and treat a diagnosis.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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