Diabetes is the name for a group of diseases that are characterized by high blood glucose, which is also known as high blood sugar or hyperglycemia. It’s a metabolic disorder in which “the body doesn’t make enough insulin or is not able to use insulin effectively, or both” (source). You see, when you eat most foods, your body breaks them down into glucose. Then your body uses insulin to get the glucose into your cells, where it is converted into energy. When this process is disrupted, there’s too much glucose left in your bloodstream, and this can cause a variety of complications.
There are many different types of Diabetes disease. They include…
- Type 1 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes
- Gestational diabetes
Type 1 diabetes usually occurs in children or young adults and only accounts for about 5% of total Diabetes disease cases (source). It is caused by the body’s immune system attacking beta cells in the pancreas, which were supposed to produce insulin. It used to be called insulin-dependent Diabetes disease mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes, but now it is most commonly known as type 1 Diabetes disease. Type 1 diabetes is relatively rare and its cause is unknown.
Gestational diabetes can occur in women during pregnancy. According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC), “Scientists believe gestational Diabetes disease is caused by the hormonal changes and metabolic demands of pregnancy together with genetic and environmental factors.” It develops in roughly 2-10% of pregnancies and typically goes away after delivery, though it may increase the mother and/or child’s risk of diabetes later in life.
But we’re not here to talk about those types of diabetes. Today, it’s time to focus on type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all Diabetes disease cases. It used to be called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes. The NDIC asserts, “Type 2 Diabetes disease—the most common form of diabetes—is caused by a combination of factors, including insulin resistance, a condition in which the body’s muscle, fat, and liver cells do not use insulin effectively. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body can no longer produce enough insulin to compensate for the impaired ability to use insulin.”There are 2 stages of type 2 Diabetes disease — prediabetes, and full-blown type 2 diabetes. Let’s take a look at these stages!
Prediabetes occurs when someone has “blood sugar, levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes”. Often the symptoms of prediabetes are subtle or even nonexistent. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Most people with prediabetes don’t have any symptoms. Your doctor can test your blood to find out if your blood glucose levels are higher than normal. If you are 45 years old or older, your doctor may recommend that you be tested for prediabetes, especially if you are overweight.”
Type 2 diabetes, the second stage we’re exploring today, can develop from prediabetes. “Type 2 diabetes usually begins with insulin resistance—a condition that occurs when fat, muscle, and liver cells do not use insulin to carry glucose into the body’s cells to use for energy. As a result, the body needs more insulin to help glucose enter cells” . People are at a higher risk for developing type 2 Diabetes disease when they are…
- Age 45 or older
- Dealing with impaired glucose tolerance
- Physically inactive
- Related to other people with diabetes