Understanding the Different Types of Diabetes

November 21, 2017

For more than 23 million Americans, diabetes is an everyday part of life. It affects the young, the old and those in between. It affects both men and women. For all who have it, the problem is the same: Too much sugar remains in the blood stream rather than being used or stored in the body. The cause of that problem, however, can differ and is typically classified into four basic types of diabetes:


Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 is also known as juvenile-onset diabetes because it affects primarily children and young adults. It accounts for only about 5 percent of all diabetes cases and is actually an autoimmune disease. With type 1 diabetes, the body attacks its own insulin-producing cells. The damaged pancreas stops producing insulin or produces very little. The condition is not preventable, and individuals with type 1 rely on daily doses of insulin.

Gestational Diabetes

During pregnancy, some women develop a form of diabetes that has few to no symptoms but nevertheless affects their body’s ability to absorb glucose like it should. Identifiable through standard prenatal testing, it’s usually both preventable and treatable with diet and exercise. While gestational diabetes often resolves itself following the birth, women who experience the condition during pregnancy may be more prone to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.


When glucose levels are higher than normal yet fall short of diabetes, the condition is known as prediabetes. The high blood sugar is often associated with insulin resistance, meaning that the body needs higher levels of insulin to be able to absorb glucose. The CDC’s most recent statistics found that more than a third of adults age 18 or older were prediabetic, and nearly half of all adults 65 or older had prediabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 is also known as diabetes mellitus or adult-onset diabetes. It’s the most prevalent type of diabetes, credited with 90 to 95 percent of all cases of diabetes. It can develop at any time in a person’s life but is most common in middle-aged and older adults. With type 2, the body may be unable to produce insulin, or it may be unable to use the insulin it has efficiently. In either case, the levels of glucose that remain in the bloodstream are too high. Type 2 diabetes is often both preventable and treatable. While some individuals may require insulin, antidiabetic medications and lifestyle changes may prove quite effective for others.

Role of Obesity

Excess weight is a leading risk factor for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. According to the CDC’s National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017, more than 87 percent of people diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes were overweight, nearly half were obese, and nearly 18 percent were severely obese. People who are obese tend to develop both insulin resistance and the inability to properly secrete insulin sooner than individuals who maintain a healthy weight. In addition, those changes in the body make losing weight more difficult, resulting in a cycle sometimes coined as “diabesity.”

Reducing the Risk of Diabetes

Obesity increases the risk of diabetes, but in many cases, those risks can be reduced or managed by eliminating excess weight. While lifestyle changes, diet and exercise work for some, for many others, the battle to achieve and sustain a healthy weight remains a challenge. If this is your struggle, Acadiana Weight Loss Surgery is here to help. For more information about obesity and weight loss solutions, visit our website, or call 337-233-9900.