Types of Diabetes

Types of diabetes

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not generate enough insulin or does not utilize the insulin produced effectively to break down the sugar in blood (glucose) to produce energy. This causes high blood glucose levels and leads to various health impairments.

There are different types of diabetes with traits of their own. The three main types of diabetes are: Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes and Gestational diabetes. Apart from these, conditions like prediabetes and Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY) are also prevalent all over the world. 

1. Type 1 Diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks its own cells (beta cells of the pancreas) which are responsible for the production of insulin. Thus, the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to reduce blood sugar level. About one-tenth of all diabetic individuals are of Type 1.
  • This type of diabetes could be caused due to various reasons. It can be triggered by a viral infection. Enteroviruses are the majorly responsible for triggering the autoimmune condition. Type 1 diabetes could also be genetic. Damage to pancreas can also cause Type 1 diabetes. People with a history of autoimmune diseases also are prone to this type of diabetes.
  • Type 1 diabetes targets people below the age of 40. Majority of the children with the diabetic ordeal are affected by this type of diabetes. The major risk factors of this type of diabetes are age and family history.
  • The symptoms of Type 1 diabetes are immediately visible after the onset of the disease, and is therefore easy to diagnose. Type 1 diabetes damages the blood vessels in the eyes and kidneys. It also increases the risk of heart-related abnormalities.
  • Type 1 diabetes can be managed, but not completely cured, with intake of insulin through injections. Insulin is injected subcutaneously (under the skin), since oral intake of insulin is ineffective due to the digestive process.

Type 1 diabetes damages

2. Type 2 Diabetes:

  • Type 2 diabetes is also called adult-onset or non insulin-dependent diabetes. It is a condition in which the body does not exploit the insulin secreted effectively. It is known as insulin resistance, the fat, muscle and liver cells develop a resistance to insulin. More that 95% of the diabetic populace are affected by Type 2 diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes can be caused due to lifestyle and age factors. People above the age of 45 are more viable to this type of diabetes. People with prediabetes are at high risk of Type 2 diabetes. Obesity, unhealthy food practices and inactive lifestyle are major risk factors.
  • The symptoms appear much later than the onset of this type of diabetes, making it difficult to detect on time. It causes health complications like heart and blood vessel diseases, kidney diseases, skin conditions, eye damage, etc.
  • Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with medication, regular exercise, balanced diet and other healthy lifestyle changes. Extreme cases of Type 2 diabetes might require injection of insulin.

Type 2 diabetes damages

3. Gestational diabetes:

  • Gestational diabetes is the type of diabetes found in pregnant women, who did not have high sugar levels before pregnancy. About 10 percent of the total pregnant women are affected by this type of diabetes. A woman can have gestational diabetes in more than one pregnancy. The sugar levels come back to normal once the baby is delivered, but gestational diabetes can also increase the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes.
  • During pregnancy, the placenta produces hormones which can increase the blood glucose levels. Usually the pancreas can produce enough insulin to tackle this, but when the insulin produced is insufficient or the insulin is not utilized properly, it can lead to gestational diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes usually develops in the middle of the pregnancy, typically between the 24th and 28th week. 
  • Gestational diabetes are of two classes: A1, which can be controlled by a healthy diet and regular exercise, and A2, which requires medication and insulin intake.
  • Gestational diabetes exhibits symptoms rarely. Those symptoms include fatigue, excessive thirst, excessive need to urinate, vision impairment and increased appetite.
  • Obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome, miscarriage, overweight baby, family history are a few risk factors for gestational diabetes.

gestational diabetes


  • Prediabetes is a condition where the blood sugar level lies between normalcy and diabetes. It is a precursor to Type 2 diabetes. Without proper control, prediabetes can transcend into Type 2 diabetes in less than 10 years. One in every three adults have prediabetes and about 85% of them are unaware of their condition.
  • The causes of prediabetes cannot be pinpointed, but the risk factors include overweight, unhealthy food habits, inactive lifestyle, family history, race or ethnicity and smoking habit.
  • Prediabetes usually does not exhibit any symptoms, but in some cases darkened skin can appear. Appearance of symptoms like increased thirst and urination are an indication that prediabetes has changed to Type 2 diabetes.
  • Prediabetes is a warning to make changes to our lifestyle, and following a healthy diet and regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

 Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young:

  • Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY) is the collection of different forms of inherited diabetes. MODY contributes to about 5% of the total diabetes.
  • It is common among adolescents and early adults, but it can show up at any age. However, it has both the characteristics of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, that it is often confused for these two types. 
  • MODY is a monogenic disease, that is, it is caused by a single gene mutation. It can be any of the 11 different genes associated with this disease, and the gene mutated determines the type of MODY.
  • MODY is a dominant genetic condition. Therefore, there is a 50% chance that you can get MODY if either of your parents was also diagnosed with it.
  • Different types of MODY require different types of management. MODY 1, 3 and 4 require sulfonylurea therapy, while MODY 2 can be managed with a healthy diet and exercise. MODY 5 requires a variety of medications as it causes other medical conditions not related to blood sugar levels.

blood sugar levels

Diabetes can occur in different forms and understanding each type is important to rightfully deal with them. Twin health correctly identifies the type of diabetes you have with precise analysis and provides you with the best possible way to control your blood sugar levels.

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