Types of Diabetes

There are various forms of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. All types of diabetes cause blood glucose levels to be higher than normal, but in different ways.

A diagnosis of pre-diabetes should be a wake up call alerting you to the fact that you are at higher risk of developing diabetes if diet and lifestyle changes are not made.

Type 1 Diabetes
In type 1 diabetes (previously called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, IDDM, or juvenile-onset diabetes), the pancreas does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is involved in regulating blood glucose (sugar) by controlling how much glucose you make between meals and how you store glucose that you absorb after a meal.

People with type 1 diabetes usually need to take insulin multiple times a day, or continuously from a pump, and must carefully monitor their blood glucose levels to avoid serious complications.

Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age. But it is most commonly diagnosed in childhood or adolescence.

Learn more about type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes
In type 2 diabetes (previously called noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, NIDDM, or adult-onset diabetes), the body is insulin resistant and requires high levels of insulin to keep blood sugars normal. The pancreas can’t make enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugars.

Type 2 diabetes is treated with lifestyle changes, oral medications and insulin.

Learn more about type 2 diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that starts or is first diagnosed during pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones block insulin resulting in an increase in glucose levels.

You are at greater risk for gestational diabetes if you:

  • Are older than 25 when you are pregnant
  • Come from a higher risk ethnic group, such as Hispanic American, African American, Native American, Southeast Asian, or Pacific Islander
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Gave birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds (4 kg) or had a birth defect
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have too much amniotic fluid
  • Have had an unexplained miscarriage or stillbirth
  • Were overweight before your pregnancy
  • Gain too much weight during your pregnancy
  • Have polycystic ovarian syndrome