More than 37 million people in the United States have diabetes, and about 96 million are at high risk of developing diabetes. People with diabetes have too much glucose, also called sugar, in their blood. Glucose is the main source of energy for every cell in your body, and it comes from the food you eat.
When glucose hits your bloodstream, this signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin is a hormone that assists in moving glucose from your blood to your cells. People with diabetes have too much glucose in their blood because of problems involving insulin. The type of diabetes you have depends on how your insulin is affected.
At MS Family Medicine Health Care PC in Rosedale and Garden City, New York, our team, led by board-certified family medicine physician Michele Reed, DO, FAAFP, focuses on educating patients about their diabetes, so they can understand how to better manage it.
Here, we want to discuss the different types of diabetes, their causes, and how we treat them.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. If you have Type 1 diabetes, you need insulin shots (or an insulin pump) to replace the insulin your body no longer makes.
This type of diabetes most often appears during childhood, but it can occur at any age. Researchers theorize that genetic and environmental factors cause the disease. Currently, there’s no way to prevent Type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes
Most people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. With this type, your cells are resistant to the actions of the insulin, so the glucose stays in your blood instead of moving into your cells. Your pancreas releases more insulin in response to the higher-than-normal levels of blood sugar, but it’s unable to produce enough insulin to maintain normal levels.
Though anyone can develop Type 2 diabetes, you’re at greater risk if you have a family history of diabetes, you’re overweight or obese, or you're age 45 or older. Having prediabetes or gestational diabetes also puts you at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Some people with Type 2 diabetes need to take insulin injections. However, treatment for Type 2 diabetes primarily centers around lifestyle changes, such as nutrition and exercise.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that affects women during pregnancy, and it usually goes away with the birth of the baby. The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, along with the weight gain, causes insulin resistance.
If you have gestational diabetes, your body is unable to make enough insulin to overcome the increase in demand, which leads to higher-than-normal levels of blood sugar. Like Type 2 diabetes, lifestyle changes are the primary treatment for gestational diabetes.
No matter what type of diabetes you have, you can take steps to manage it. Our team of primary care providers can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with MS Family Medicine Health Care PC today.