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How Many Types of Diabetes Are There?

testing blood sugar
March 10, 2024

Diabetes affects millions of people around the world from all ages and backgrounds. Exactly what is diabetes, you may ask? It’s defined as the body’s inability to produce enough insulin or the opposite– produce too much insulin. The pancreas is responsible for making insulin, and it’s a necessary part of your metabolic process of converting food into energy. So, how many types of diabetes are there? Read on to find out!

Type 1 Diabetes

Typically kids or younger adults are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, but anyone can develop Type 1. This form of diabetes is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the pancreas cells that make insulin. There is no current reason for this chronic condition, but genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle factors could all be potential causes.

Symptoms of T1D

type 1 diabetes

These symptoms of type 1 diabetes can be sudden, developing over a few weeks. Common symptoms include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Excessive thirst or hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Bed-wetting in children who haven’t had that issue before
  • Increased irritability and mood changes
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

Treatment for T1D

The only treatment for Type 1 diabetes is to take insulin every day for the rest of your life. Insulin injections used to be the typical form of treatment; however, continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) is becoming more popular. It removes the need for multiple injections throughout the day and also adds convenience to regular monitoring of your blood sugar levels.

Type 2 Diabetes

You’ll often hear the term “insulin resistance” in reference to Type 2, which means that your body doesn’t utilize insulin correctly, which forces your pancreas to produce too much insulin. Routine bloodwork will reveal the spike in your blood sugar levels. Those with a higher weight, poor diet, and a sedentary lifestyle are typically more likely to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms of T2D

Much like Type 1, the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes can look like this:

  • Losing weight without trying
  • Being overly hungry or thirsty
  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Excessive urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow-healing cuts or wounds
  • Numb or tingling extremities
  • Areas of darkened skin (usually armpits or neck)

Treatment for T2D

This form of diabetes is treated with diet and exercise. Weight control is crucial for improving and even reversing T2D. You may also require a diabetes prescription medication to help manage your blood sugar levels, which will require consistent monitoring. Insulin therapy is another option if oral medication isn’t working effectively.

Gestational Diabetes

gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is another one of the common types of diabetes that shows up during pregnancy and usually goes away after pregnancy. Certain insulin-blocking hormones are produced during pregnancy, and this usually results in gestational diabetes in those with a family history of insulin resistance. It’s important to note that those with gestational diabetes are more likely to develop T2D later.

Type 3: The link between Diabetes & Alzheimer’s

How many types of diabetes are there? We have covered 3 main types already: gestational, type 1, and type 2. But did you know that current research has distinguished a link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease? Unofficially known as type 3 diabetes, it refers to the brain cells’ inability to utilize insulin function. When these cells starve and ultimately die, it can greatly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. This connection between insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s is still being studied, as well as potential treatments. The important takeaway is this: Type 2 diabetes can be a significant risk factor for cognitive decline, so it is vital to seek treatment as soon as possible for diabetes.

Now you know the answer to one of our most frequently asked questions– how many types of diabetes are there? Get more health news and wellness tips by following our blog!