How Many Types of Diabetes

In this type 1 diabetes, the body completely stops producing insulin due to destruction of the insulin-producing pancreatic cells by the body’s immune system. It was previously referred to as juvenile diabetes because it is usually diagnosed in young adults or children, or insulin-dependent diabetes, as insulin therapy is essential for survival and maintenance of good health.
This is the more common form of diabetes, accounting for about 90% of cases. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas either produces inadequate amounts of insulin, or the body is unable to use the available insulin properly. Type 2 diabetes usually occurs in adults, and is more common in people who are overweight or obese. Type 2 diabetes was previously known as maturity-onset or non-insulindependent diabetes. It is treated mostly with diet, exercise and oral medication. Insulin is given only if the blood sugar levels cannot be controlled by oral medication. More than 80% of type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by reducing the risk factors that may lead to its development and adopting healthier lifestyles.

Prediabetes is a condition in which the blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. Millions of people worldwide do not know that they have prediabetes. That is why it is important to get screened for prediabetes. If the HbA1C is between 5.7% and 6.4%, or the FPG is more than 110 mg/dL but less than 126 mg/dL, or the OGTT (2-hour glucose test) is between 140 and 199 mg/dL, the condition is termed as prediabetes. Prediabetic persons may develop type 2 diabetes in later life. There is a rule of “thirds” – about one third of prediabetic people will develop diabetes in the next five years, one third will remain prediabetic, while one third will revert to normal.

Those who have prediabetes are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Following proper diet and exercise programmes to control weight can help prevent progression from prediabetes to diabetes and avoid cardiovascular problems. Screening for diabetes and prediabetes should not be delayed; it is better done early rather than late.

Gestational diabetes is a temporary type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy (gestation). A woman who had gestational diabetes in one pregnancy has a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes in future pregnancies. Although gestational diabetes reverts to normal after pregnancy, it increases the risk of type 2 diabetes in future. Therefore, regular and timely screening for type 2 diabetes is essential for women who have had gestational diabetes.