Atlantic Endocrinology New York City

What is Diabetes and What Are the Different Types?

At Atlantic Endocrinology & Diabetes Center, we know that diabetes is common across age groups and genders. 

A lot of us have heard of diabetes and have a basic understanding about it. Unfortunately, the prevalence of diabetes in youth and young adults is increasing. However, you should know and keep in mind that there are different types of diabetes.

For an average person, diabetes means controlling your food intake, particularly those containing sugar. 

However, knowing the kind of diabetes you have, gives you a better understanding of the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment related to the disease. 

There are four common types of diabetes; type 1, type 2, prediabetes, and gestational. 

In addition, there is a range of other diabetes types, such as cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, monogenic diabetes, and diabetes caused by rare syndromes.

So, whether you’ve just received a new diagnosis or you want to brush up on the science behind diabetes, you’ve come to the right place. 

As with everything, starting at the basics is essential. So what exactly is diabetes?

What is Diabetes?

The easiest and best way to understand what diabetes is involves looking at it from a number of different angles. 

Learning terminology is great, but it needs to be applied to circumstantial situations to be best understood. The same is said about learning the underlying causes of diabetes.

What Causes Diabetes?

Everyone needs glucose for their body to function. It gets broken down, reworked by the pancreas, and released so your cells have the food and energy they need to do their job. 

In some people, however, the system fails. Diabetes is when, for whatever reason, this system doesn’t work properly.

Depending on the type of diabetes, your body either can’t make insulin or makes ineffective insulin. 

Both result in a failure of glucose to be absorbed into your cells. The underlying reason behind this is still kind of a blurr, but genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices all play a part.

A lot of doctors point to lifestyle choices as the main preventable cause of Type 2 diabetes. Physical inactivity, diet, and more all contribute to your susceptibility.


How Common is Diabetes?

At Atlantic Endocrinology & Diabetes Center, New York, we know that diabetes is more common than you’d think, as many cases continue to go undiagnosed. 

However, it is estimated that there are about 415 million people living with diabetes today, or about 1 in 11 adults. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form in adults today and accounts for close to 90% of all cases.

Here are some common and less common types of diabetes:

1. Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a common type of diabetes where your pancreas produces little to no insulin. 

As a result, your sugar levels cannot be controlled. The main cause of type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune reaction of your body where it destroys the insulin-making cells in the pancreas called beta cells. As a result, your body produces excess glucose. 

Type 1 diabetes is also caused by genes or certain viruses. The symptoms of type 1 diabetes are frequent urination, excessive thirst, fatigue, hunger, and blurred vision. 

You are at higher risk of getting type 1 diabetes, if you are white, have a family history of type 1 diabetes, or are younger than 20 years of age.

2.Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common diabetes, it develops when the body becomes less insulin sensitive or the pancreas produces less insulin due to diet and obesity. 

About 90-95% of cases worldwide are type 2 diabetes. Like type 1 diabetes, your body cells fail to use insulin as they should.

People who are obese, overweight, sedentary, have a family history of type 2, are 45+, or have a smoking history are more susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes.

Other diseases, such as polycystic ovary syndrome, high cholesterol, or hypertension, will also increase your risk. Type 2 diabetes was earlier known as adult-onset diabetes.

Still, with a rise in obesity among children, more adolescents are now developing this condition. Nevertheless, type 2 diabetes is often a milder diabetes form than type 1.

3.Gestational Diabetes

This is a form of diabetes that occurs in pregnant women. The CDC states that each year about two to ten percent of pregnancies within the USA become affected due to gestational diabetes. 

It poses specific health issues to both expecting mothers as well as their babies, and scientists aren’t quite sure what causes it. 

There is a hormone produced in the placenta that stops the body from effectively utilizing insulin, resulting in a glucose accumulation inside blood instead of being absorbed by cells. 

Unlike other diabetes variants, gestational diabetes doesn’t involve inadequate insulin, but the creation of pregnancy hormones that reduce its efficiency.

4. Prediabetes

Prediabetes is a condition when you have a blood sugar level between 100 and 125 mg/dL. The causes of prediabetes are the same as type 2 diabetes. 

Prediabetes is the stage before type 2 diabetes. The symptoms of prediabetes are the same as type 2 diabetes but you might also have darkened body parts such as armpits, groin, and neck. 

You are at a high risk of getting prediabetes if you are overweight, leading an inactive life, have a family history of type 2 diabetes, or if you have gestational diabetes.