Different kinds of diabetes can occur, and managing the condition depends on the type. Not all forms of diabetes stem from a person being overweight or leading an inactive lifestyle. In fact, some are present from childhood. Less common types of diabetes include monogenic diabetes and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes. Three major diabetes types can develop: Type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Type I diabetes: Also known as juvenile diabetes, this type occurs when the body fails to produce insulin. People with type I diabetes are insulin-dependent, which means they must take artificial insulin daily to stay alive.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the pancreas. When enough of these cells are destroyed, the body can no longer produce insulin, and glucose starts building up in the blood. Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes can progress very rapidly. Symptoms can come on suddenly and become very severe within weeks or months.
Type 2 diabetes: Type 2 diabetes affects the way the body uses insulin. While the body still makes insulin, unlike in type I, the cells in the body do not respond to it as effectively as they once did. This is the most common type of diabetes, while genetics can be a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, age, diet, and lifestyle also play a role. You’re more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have excess weight or are not physically active. You’re also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life, although you can be diagnosed at any age.
Gestational diabetes: This type occurs in women during pregnancy when the body can become less sensitive to insulin. Gestational diabetes does not occur in all women and usually resolves after giving birth.