There are many different forms of diabetes, more than I had known when I was diagnosed as a type one back in the early 90s. Diabetes has many different causes and the more research is done into this condition the more we learn about how many different forms of diabetes there can be and how each of them requires different treatment. I’ll be writing in more depth on each type of diabetes in the future but today let’s look at some of the different types of diabetes out there:
Type 1 diabetes
This is the form I was diagnosed with as a child but which I’m starting to believe was a mis-diagnosis. Type 1 often starts in childhood or when people are in their teens but it can occur at any age. Type 1 is an auto-immune disease. This means that the body’s own immune system gets confused and starts to destroy the part of the pancreas (the beta cells) which create insulin. Type 1 diabetics will have to take insulin injections to treat their condition. Type 1s are often diagnosed quite soon after they start to suffer symptoms.
Type 2 diabetes
This is the most known about form of diabetes and most of the time when you hear the media talking about diabetes it is type 2. Type 2 diabetes was typically diagnosed in older adults but can happen at any age and is usually linked to lifestyle. In type 2 diabetics their pancreases are able to produce insulin but their body doesn’t use it properly. The body becomes resistant to insulin it’s producing and needs more. People with type 2 diabetes often have weight issues or do little exercise which can add to the problems the body has in using its own insulin. Type 2 diabetes can be treated with diet changes alone but many are also treated with oral pills and in the worst cases insulin. Type 2 diabetes can be reversed (or be put into remission as some call it) and controlled with diet alone, but it involves major changes to someone’s lifestyle which for some can be difficult. Because type 2 can happen gradually and not be noticed for months or even years, sometimes people are only diagnosed when they already suffer some type of complication.
MODY which stands for Mature Onset of Diabetes in the Young generally occurs in people below the age of 25 and is a new type of diabetes I hadn’t heard of in the 90s. MODY diabetes is caused by a genetic mutation of a gene in the body and it causes a person to become diabetic. There are many different types of MODY diabetes although the number of people diagnosed with it is very small. The different forms of MODY are caused by different gene mutations and cause different forms of diabetes with different treatment needs. For some who would usually be diagnosed as type 1 their treatment is to take special oral medication rather than insulin injections. For others with another form of MODY will find that their blood sugars are always slightly higher than normal but for them that is fine. There are several different types of MODY diabetes and it is often mis-diagnosed as type 1 diabetes because it occurs at such a young age and although MODY is still considered rare, there is a chance more people have MODY than they know.
While not technically a form of diabetes yet, many people who have a slightly elevated blood sugar will be diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Their fasting blood sugars are not high enough to be deemed as diabetes, but it can certainly lead to type 2 diabetes in many people if no changes are made. People who make changes to their diet and general lifestyle can stop themselves from getting type 2 diabetes, so it’s important to take these steps if you think you may be pre-diabetic.
This happens in some women who are pregnant. It is often a temporary condition although you shouldn’t confuse gestational diabetes with other types of diabetes which pregnant women may already have before getting pregnant. If someone is already diabetic they don’t get gestational diabetes, this is only for women who seem to develop diabetes during pregnancy. Although the diabetes may be temporary and only happen during the pregnancy, some women find themselves later diagnosed with permanent diabetes. It is important for women to take care of their blood sugar levels during pregnancy as the baby is growing and they can usually do it with diet and exercise rather than medication. These days diabetic women usually go on to have a normal pregnancy and birth, Many are of often induced though and this may be due to the fact that diabetic women often give birth to larger than average babies (perhaps due to all the sugar?) – or so I have heard has happened in the past although not these days through careful monitoring.
It has been well documented for some time that people who take steroids or some other drugs are prone to having higher than normal blood sugar levels. With a course of strong steroids treatment or long-term steroid treatment it is possible for people to develop diabetes. People taking any form of steroids for other health conditions, especially those with a family history of type 2 diabetes could develop diabetes which may either need to be treated with insulin or simply diet and exercise until their course of the steroid treatment is finished. Steroid-induced diabetes will often go away after they’ve been treated for their other condition but sometimes this can develop in into type 2 diabetes. This is the type of diabetes I’m pretty sure I have, although I’m officially still a type 1 diabetic until I speak to my doctor.
Although this condition is called diabetes, it has nothing to do with insulin or blood sugar levels. Diabetes insipidus causes people to urinate frequently and causes the kidneys problems as they are constantly overworked. The body doesn’t retain water and so people suffer symptoms of dehydration including cracked skin and fatigue. Diabetes insipidus only really shares the frequent urination and dehydration as a result with diabetes mellitus(all other forms of diabetes) and so I only put it here as a quick reference and I honestly don’t know much about this condition though I welcome any comments from those that do..
Many other forms:
There are many other forms of diabetes, such as LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes in adults) which is a form of type 1 in adults as well as brittle diabetes which is a form of type 1 which is very hard to control to name just two. There are many other types but above I’ve listed the most commonly known, at least to me. I will go into more depth about the different forms of diabetes in the coming weeks, reserving a whole post for each one. I know some diabetes types better than others so forgive me if I rely on some research for the other types. In the meantime why not check out Diabetes.co.uk which has been an invaluable source for information and a great help for anyone confused by their diagnoses or seeking more detailed information. I’ll also be sharing with you my own confused journey of diabetes and why I now believe I’ve been diagnosed with the wrong type of diabetes.
Do you have or know of a type of diabetes I haven’t listed here? Do you struggle with your diabetes? What form do you have or do you know someone with the condition? Has the above list helped you to understand anything better? Please feel free to leave any comments or questions in the box below, I’ll do my best to answer them 🙂