Types of Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic condition which affects approximately 21 million Americans. It is characterized by high blood sugar caused when the body is unable to produce or to properly use the hormone insulin, which is needed to convert sugars, starches and other foods into energy.

Type 1 Diabetes

This type of diabetes usually affects children and younger adults but can affect people of any age. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body makes little or no insulin. This lack of insulin keeps sugar from entering cells and being used as energy, causing blood sugar levels to remain high.

People with Type 1 diabetes always have to take insulin shots. This type only affects 5-10% of all people with diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes

This type usually affects adults over 40 but can occur in younger people as well. More young people are getting type 2 diabetes due to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise and being overweight.

Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the body does not make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes. This is called insulin resistance. People with type 2 diabetes might be able to manage it with diet and exercise. If this is not effective, pills and/or insulin could be necessary. Of people with diabetes, 90-95% have type 2.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that is discovered or diagnosed during pregnancy, most commonly around the 24th to 28th week of gestation. It can be treated with nutrition therapy only, or with the addition of insulin injections if needed to control the blood sugar level. Gestational diabetes usually resolves after delivery. However, women with gestational diabetes are at risk to develop type 2 diabetes and should be tested after delivery and periodically thereafter.


In pre-diabetes, blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be defined as diabetes. Many people with pre-diabetes develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Pre-diabetes also increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. With modest weight loss and moderate physical activity, people with pre-diabetes can often delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.

Healthy Living Resources

Diabetes Web Sites

Healthy Diet and Exercise