What are the types of diabetes?
There are three types of diabetes. All three are caused by a breakdown in the ability of insulin to help the body use glucose for energy.
Type 1 diabetes
The immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The cells stop making insulin, and the body cannot use glucose for energy. People with type 1 diabetes need insulin injections every day to stay alive. Type 1 diabetes can begin at any age, but it usually occurs in children or in young adults under age 30.
Type 2 diabetes
Either the pancreas does not make enough insulin, or the body cannot use insulin properly. The body "resists" the action of insulin, and glucose does not get into the body's cells very well. Type 2 diabetes is more common after age 45, but even children can develop the disease.
In some women, the hormonal changes of pregnancy demand more insulin than the body can make. Blood glucose levels return to normal after the birth of the baby and the diabetes goes away. However, women who have had gestational diabetes are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.