There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational. All are metabolic disorders that affect how the body uses (metabolizes) food to make glucose. Glucose is the main source of fuel for the body. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the body does not make enough insulin or that your body is not able to use the insulin it does make. Your body needs the hormone insulin to change blood sugar (glucose) into energy. Without insulin, too much glucose collects in your blood. Diabetes may also be a result of other conditions such as include genetic syndromes, chemicals, medicines, pancreatitis, infections, and viruses.
The three main types of diabetes are similar in the buildup of blood glucose because of problems with insulin. But each has a different cause and treatment:
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The body’s immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. This means that your body has no or only a small amount of insulin. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day in order to live.
Type 2 diabetes happens when the body cannot make enough insulin or is not able to use it properly. Type 2 diabetes may be controlled with diet, exercise, and weight loss, or may need oral medicines or insulin injections.
Gestational diabetes happens in pregnant women who have not been diagnosed with diabetes in the past. In a woman with gestational diabetes, her body cannot effectively use the insulin that is present. This type of diabetes goes away after delivery. If it does not go away, it was not gestational diabetes but type 1 or 2 diabetes that started during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes may be controlled with diet, exercise, and attention to weight gain. Women with this type of diabetes may need to take medicines to control their glucose. They may be at higher risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.