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November is National Diabetes Month: know the 3 types of diabetes

November is National Diabetes Month, where we seek to bring attention to the more than 30 million U.S. adults who have diabetes and the one in four individuals who do not know they have it. The Center for Healthy Living Diabetes Team would like to share information about diabetes and pre-diabetes to recognize those who live with or support someone with diabetes and to create an awareness of those at risk of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

There are 3 main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational.

Type 1 diabetes is less common than Type 2 diabetes and accounts for five percent of the people who have diabetes. It is considered an autoimmune disease which results in the body’s inability to make insulin. Some scientists believe that Type 1 diabetes is a genetic condition where the cells of the pancreas are attacked and then stop functioning. Others believe the disease may be caused by a virus that prompt the immune system to begin attacking the pancreas. Because of this people, with Type 1 diabetes require insulin for life. Currently, there is not a way to prevent Type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 accounts for 90 percent of those diagnosed with diabetes. The body is not making enough insulin or the body is not using the insulin properly, which is referred to as insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes is treated with lifestyle changes and oral medications or insulin.

The third main type of diabetes is gestational diabetes, which is a condition where women are diagnosed in the second trimester of pregnancy. About four percent of all pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes. Unlike Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes typically disappears after the baby is born. Gestational diabetes is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes later in life.

Pre-diabetes is a serious health condition which affects 86 million people. With pre-diabetes, blood sugars are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. If you have prediabetes, the cells in your body don’t respond normally to insulin. Your pancreas makes more insulin trying to get cells to respond. Eventually your pancreas can’t keep up, and your blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes—and type 2 diabetes down the road.