The Different Types of Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, and it typically impacts adults. Type 1 diabetes is sometimes referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes, and it begins in childhood for many people.

Both types of diabetes are related to insulin irregularities. The signs of diabetes vary by type and are caused by the body’s inability to process sugars correctly. If your blood sugar is not controlled, you may experience some serious symptoms. Diabetes is also associated with certain severe health consequences, so it is critical to follow your doctor’s instructions for managing your diabetes.

Exact type 1 and type 2 diabetes causes are not entirely known. Both seem to be influenced by genetics, but environmental factors. Gestational diabetes, for instance, is caused by hormones produced during pregnancy. Lifestyle habits also play an important role in contracting this disease. To learn more about the different types of diabetes and their signs and symptoms, continue reading the sections below.

Common Signs of Diabetes

There are several signs of high blood sugar, and it is important to see a doctor if you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms. Having elevated blood sugar for a long time can be hard on your body and cause other complications, so if you are concerned, you should seek medical attention promptly. The most common signs of diabetes for which you may need a glucose monitor include but are not limited to:

  • Frequent urination.
  • Frequent hunger.
  • Fatigue.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Headaches.
  • Dry skin and mouth.
  • Blurry vision.

Type 2 diabetes has its own symptoms, which include:

  • Patches of dark skin on the neck, groin or armpit.
  • Tingling, numbness or pain in your feet or hands.
  • Yeast infections.
  • Slow wound healing.

It is especially important to pay attention to these signs of diabetes if you have any of the following risk factors:

  • Being 45 years of age or older
  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle

Different Types of Diabetes

There are three types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. Each one has slight differences, as outlined below:

  • Gestational diabetes happens during pregnancy, and it can cause problems for the baby and the mother. Typically, this type of diabetes goes away after the pregnancy. It is caused by hormones that increase insulin resistance. Even though it usually goes away, it does leave you at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
  • Type 1 diabetes typically begins during childhood, although it can happen in adults, as well. The onset of type 1 usually occurs very quickly, and it has obvious symptoms. It is believed to be an autoimmune condition. If you have type 1, your body is unable to produce insulin. Insulin helps your body process blood sugar, so without it your blood has too much sugar, which causes complications.
  • Type 2 diabetes is different from type 1 in that your body is resistant to insulin, but it still produces it, at least early on. Later, your body may stop producing insulin. It typically occurs during adulthood.

The approach to treatment also varies depending on the type of diabetes. Type 1 is treated with insulin since your body cannot produce it on its own. People with type 1 may inject themselves with insulin, use an insulin pen or have an insulin pump. If they are using syringes or pens, they use a glucose monitor to ensure their blood sugar stays remains within healthy levels. People with type 1 may also take oral medications such as metformin to manage their condition.

Type 2 diabetes can often be managed with diet and exercise. If those measures are not effective on their own, those with type 2 may also take prescription medications such as metformin. If their body stops producing insulin, they may need to take insulin, as well.

Gestational diabetes symptoms can often be managed with diet and exercise. In some cases, you may need insulin injections, and you may also need to use a glucose monitor.

Health Conditions Linked to Diabetes

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes can both negatively impact other parts of your health. Almost every organ in the body can be affected, especially if your diabetes is not controlled. Here are some of the common health conditions associated with diabetes.

  • Skin conditions—Diabetes can cause bacterial and fungal infections on the skin. It can also cause dry skin and itching.
  • Muscle aches—This is a common diabetes symptom, and the legs, in particular, may be subject to leg pain and cramps.
  • Heart disease—People with diabetes have a higher risk of heart disease.
  • Eye problems—Diabetes type 1 or 2 may cause eye problems, such as cataracts, glaucoma or retinopathy.
  • Kidney problems—Those with diabetes have a higher risk of kidney disease.
  • Strokes—Having diabetes also puts you at a higher risk of a stroke.
  • Nerve Issues—Nerve endings may become damaged with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, which can cause numbness or tingling.
  • Neuropathy—Neuropathy is a nervous system disorder, which can cause damage to several different systems in the body, including the peripheral nervous system and internal organs.

Many health conditions associated with diabetes symptoms can be minimized if you control your diabetes. This means that you need to carefully watch for signs of high blood sugar and act accordingly. If you experience symptoms of any of these health conditions, it is critical to see a medical professional as soon as you can.

Type 1 diabetes, type 2 and gestational diabetes all can be best managed if you pay close attention to what you eat. Exercise also helps people to manage diabetes and its symptoms. Follow your doctor’s recommendations carefully and you can live a healthy life, even with diabetes.