pharmacist talking to patient

Understanding the 3 Common Types of Diabetes

patient talking to doctor about diabetes
April 10, 2023

Diabetes is a long-term health condition that impacts how your body converts food into energy. Diabetes occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body can’t effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood glucose by allowing blood sugar to enter your body’s cells. Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, heart attacks, kidney failure, stroke and lower limb amputation, affecting 37.3 million people or 11.3% of Americans. Here are the 3 common types of diabetes:

1. Type 1 Diabetes

testing blood sugar

Type 1 diabetes is believed to be caused by an autoimmune reaction in which your body mistakenly attacks itself which stops your body from producing insulin. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. It’s not known what prompts these attacks but genetic and environmental factors could play a role. About 5-10% of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes typically develop quickly and patients with type 1 diabetes need daily administration of insulin.

2. Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body struggles to use insulin, making it hard to keep blood sugar at normal levels. It stops the body from using insulin properly which often leads to high blood sugar if not treated. Type 2 diabetes typically develops over many years and is usually diagnosed in adults. Those with type 2 diabetes may not notice any symptoms so regular blood sugar testing is important. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by making healthy lifestyle choices like losing weight, eating healthy and being active. Genetics, a sedentary lifestyle and obesity could contribute to Type 2 diabetes.

More than 95% of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. Previously, it was only seen in adults, but now practitioners are seeing more cases of children with type 2 diabetes. Early diagnosis is key to prevent the worst symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Routine check ups and blood tests with your healthcare provided are the best ways to detect type 2 diabetes.

3. Gestational Diabetes

gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women who have never had any of these types of diabetes previously. This form of diabetes is caused by insulin-blocking hormones that are created during pregnancy. Those with gestational diabetes are at higher risk of a childbirth with complications. While gestational diabetes typically goes away after a child is born, it does increase your chances to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Roughly 50% of people who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes is often found in people with preexisting prediabetes and a family history of diabetes.

You’re up to speed on knowing the 3 major types of diabetes and how they work. Here at Harrison Pharmacy and Wellness, we have a great selection of vitamins and supplements that could help you see improvement in your diabetes! Give us a call today to see how we can help!