Receiving a diagnosis of diabetes means there is a problem with your body’s ability to manage the blood glucose (sugar) levels due to ineffective insulin manufacture and dispersal by the pancreas. When you eat, your body breaks down the food into glucose which the cells use for fuel or energy. The insulin your body produces helps to move the glucose from the blood into your cells.
If you have type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes (which can occur during pregnancy), your body may either not make enough insulin, is unable to use the insulin effectively, or exhibits both problems which leads blood glucose levels to rise higher than normal. Blood glucose levels higher than normal is called hyperglycemia.
Types of Diabetes
Pre-Diabetes is also commonly called borderline diabetes when blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Pre-Diabetes puts one at a higher risk of complications such as having a stroke or heart attack, and increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Approximately 37% of adult Americans are estimated to have pre-diabetes. Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, eating a healthier diet, and increasing your activity level may prevent or delay a type 2 diagnosis.
Type 1 Diabetes can occur at any age but is typically first diagnosed in young people. Type 1 affects about 5% of people in the U.S. and is much less common than a diagnosis of Type 2. With Type 1 your body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that manufacture insulin. Without the ability of the pancreas to produce enough if any insulin, the treatment for Type 1 is to take injections of insulin, often several times a day.
Type 2 Diabetes can occur over time when your pancreas is not able to keep up with the demands to produce enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels in the normal range. Type 2 is treated with lifestyle changes, oral medication and insulin. Type 2 typically becomes harder to manage over time and many find that diet and exercise alone are no longer effective in the management of blood glucose levels requiring medications (oral and/or insulin) need to be added to the treatment regime.
Gestational Diabetes is diagnosed during pregnancy around the 24th week. Development of gestational diabetes does not mean you had it before you became pregnant or that you will have it after you deliver your baby. Mothers with this type of diabetes may need to make changes to their eating patterns, increase their physical activity level, and possibly give themselves insulin injections. Continued high glucose levels during pregnancy increase risk factors for both mother and child and needs to be carefully monitored.