What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which the body struggles to produce or use insulin, leading to insulin resistance. The body uses insulin to convert sugar, starches and other food molecules into energy for our cells. Diabetics typically fall into one of four categories: pre-diabetes, Type I, Type II, or gestational diabetes.
Pre-diabetes occurs when an individual has higher than normal blood glucose levels, but does not have levels high enough to be considered diabetic. Unlike diabetes, pre-diabetes is reversible if it's managed before it manifests into full onset diabetes.
Type I diabetes is the rarer of the two types. Sometimes called Juvenile Diabetes, Type I will often present in children and young adults. Someone who is a type one diabetic has trouble producing insulin, and thus is in need of insulin injections to keep blood glucose levels from being too high. Type I is genetic and thus is not strongly tied to lifestyle and environment.
Type II diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Type II typically is seen in adults who are in their 30s, 40s, and 50s; however, recently diabetes has been trending towards younger adults and teens. Overweight and obesity are high risk factors for Type II. Type II diabetics typically have issues using the insulin in their bodies correctly, leading to higher than normal blood glucose levels. Unlike Type I, Type II diabetes can occur even without strong genetic factors that influence Type I diabetics; diet, exercise and insulin treatments can be implemented to help control Type II diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is the most unique condition in that it can only occur during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes occurs even when pregnant women are non-diabetic. Higher than normal blood sugar levels can occur during pregnancy, resulting in diabetic symptoms. Gestational diabetes goes away after the baby is born, but women who had it become higher risk for developing Type II diabetes later on.