Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, when the body’s immune system attacks itself. In this case the body destroys its insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells. Type 1 diabetics must take insulin everyday to survive. This type usually develops in children and young adults, but can appear at any age.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form with 90% of diabetics having this type. The risk factors for type 2 diabetes are
- older age,
- being overweight,
- family history of diabetes,
- physical inactivity,
- history of gestational diabetes.
This type of diabetes may be controlled with weight loss, diet, exercise, medication and insulin.
Gestational diabetes develops only during pregnancy. Women with a history of gestational diabetes have a 20 to 50% of developing type 2 diabetes within 5-10 years. Pregnant patients routinely have a glucose tolerance test (drinking a sugary drink) and then checking blood sugars to confirm that body can control blood sugars well.
Symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst, increased frequency of urination, constant hunger, weight loss, blurred vision, extreme fatigue.
To test for diabetes, fasting blood sugar is the preferred test. See your doctor if you have risk factors for diabetes or any of the above symptoms. It’s best to know early so treatment can be instituted to decrease long term diabetic complications.