Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the pancreas fails to produce an adequate amount of insulin, resulting in high blood sugar levels. Someone who has type 1 diabetes must take insulin to live. Type 1 diabetes accounts for only about 5-10% of the cases of diabetes. It most often develops in children or young adults.
Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the cells become resistant to insulin and are unable to properly use the insulin that is produced. It is the most common type of diabetes and is associated with older age, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, family history of diabetes, history of metabolic syndrome or gestational diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may go undiagnosed because the symptoms of fatigue, nausea, unusual thirst, frequent urination or the slow healing of wounds can develop gradually, or there may be no symptoms at all.
Gestational Diabetes develops in 4% of all pregnancies. The hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy require the pancreas to secrete about three times the normal amount of insulin. If the pancreas is not able to produce the additional insulin, or if the cells become resistant to the insulin that is produced, blood sugar levels rise. Blood sugar levels usually return to normal within a few weeks after delivery, but women with gestational diabetes have a 60% chance of developing diabetes later in life.
Pre-Diabetes occurs when blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. There are twice as many Americans who have pre-diabetes than diabetes.
Metabolic Syndrome increases the risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It is characterized by obesity in the middle section of the body, insulin resistance, often high triglyceride levels in the blood, low HDL (good) cholesterol, high blood pressure, polycystic ovary disease, and impaired glucose tolerance.