Types of Diabetes

Home/Diabetes/Types of Diabetes


The three main type of diabetes are:

  1. Type 1 Diabetes
  2. Type 2 Diabetes
  3. Gestational Diabetes

1. Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease (the defense system of the body attacks the body’s own cells). In diabetes, the immune system attacks the insulin- producing beta cells in the pancreas and destroys them, as a result little or no insulin is secreted. The exact cause of this is unknown but genetic factors and environmental factors (possibly virus) are believed to trigger it. The characteristic features are:

  • Accounts for 10-15% of the total number of Diabetes patients
  • Symptoms are marked and come on suddenly
  • Occurs commonly in children and young adult
  • Patient is below the age of 40 and usually thin
  • Someone with type 1 diabetes needs to take insulin daily

Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in adults

  • It is a variation of type 1 diabetes mellitus which manifests as type 2 diabetes and is therefore mis-diagnosed.
  • Patients may show moderate to severe symptoms and lack family history of diabetes

2. Type 2 Diabetes

It is the most common form of diabetes where the pancreas produce sufficient amounts of insulin. But for unknown reasons, the body cannot use the insulin effectively, a condition called insulin resistance. Initially, the beta cells of the pancreas try to compensate by producing more insulin to overcome the insulin resistance. After several years, the pancreas become exhausted and insulin production decreases. The result is the same as type 1 diabetes- glucose builds up in the blood and the body cannot make efficient use of its main source of fuel. The characteristic features are :

  • Accounts for 90 to 95% of the total number of diabetes patient
  • Symptoms are usually not marked and appear over a long period of type
  • Patient is above the age of 40 and usually overweight. Unfortunately, as more children become overweight, type 2 diabetes is becoming more common in young people
  • Usually a family history of diabetes is present
  • Type 2 diabetes is often part of a metabolic syndrome that includes obesity, elevated blood pressure, and high levels of blood lipids
  • Insulin is seldom required, usually sugar can be controlled by special diet, regular exercise and controlling weight

3. Gestational Diabetes

  • Develops only during pregnancy
  • Occurs mostly in women with a family history of diabetes.
  • It usually disappears after delivery, but the mother is at increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes later in life.