3 Types of Diabetes You May Not Know About
Helping you understand diabetes better
We’ve talked about type 2 diabetes in a previous blog. This condition happens when your trusted friend, the hormone insulin, can no longer effectively respond to your rising blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes can have dangerous consequences like blindness, heart disease, amputations, and kidney failure.
Well, you may be wondering, if there’s a type 2 diabetes, what’s type 1? In fact, here are the three other types of diabetes you may not know about:
1. Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is also called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. This condition strikes during childhood, unlike type 2 diabetes, which happens during adulthood. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system destroys the specialized cells, called beta cells, that produce insulin in the pancreas. So, the pancreas releases little or no insulin to control blood sugar levels.
Although what exactly causes type 1 diabetes is not well-understood, risk factors include family history, environment, ethnicity, and geography. About 10% of diabetic cases worldwide are of type 1.
2. Gestational diabetes
This type of diabetes may affect pregnant women. During pregnancy, the placenta makes hormones to sustain the foetus. But these hormones can negatively affect the way the cells respond to insulin, which can lead to insulin resistance (you can read more about insulin resistance here). The pancreas figures out what’s going on and would release extra insulin to compensate. But there may be a point at which the pancreas can’t keep up. So, blood sugar levels remain high. After delivery, blood sugar levels usually return to normal.
Risk factors include being overweight/obese, lack of exercise, borderline type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, and ethnicity. Around 1 in 6 live births were affected by gestational diabetes in 2019.
3. Diabetes insipidus
This type of diabetes is not linked with insulin. It’s linked with another hormone produced by your brain called antidiuretic hormone or vasopressin. This hormone helps balance how much fluids your body stores and excretes in the form of urine.
In diabetes insipidus, your fluid balance levels go haywire, either because vasopressin doesn’t work properly or the kidneys cannot effectively respond to the action of insulin. This can cause excess urination and extreme thirst. A person with serious diabetes insipidus can produce up to 19 litres of urine if they drink a lot of fluids. A healthy person produces around 1–2 litres of urine a day.
Diabetes insipidus is mostly hereditary. This type of diabetes is rare and affects only about 1 in 25,000 people.
Always remember, the only person who can keep YOU the healthiest is YOU!
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