Diabetes is characterized by the inability of the body to control it’s blood sugar level. High blood sugar is known as hyperglycemia and is controlled by the hormone insulin. So diabetes interferes with the creation and secretion of insulin.
There are three types of diabetes and they disrupt the normal secretion of insulin in different ways.
The first type of diabetes is known as Type 1 diabetes, insulin dependent diabetes mellitus or juvenile diabetes . It is often called juvenile diabetes to indicate the age that most people acquire it. It is unusual to acquire Type 1 diabetes past your mid 20’s.
Although it is not known how you get Type 1 diabetes, it is understood what causes the condition and some theories about why it occurs.
Type 1 Diabetes is known as an autoimmune disorder. This means that the body destroys the cells that produce insulin because it thinks that they are harmful to the body. These cells are called the beta cells found in the islet cells that are located in the pancreas. Because the insulin producing cells are destroyed blood sugar levels cannot be regulated by the body so insulin has to be injected into the body to perform this function.
Type 1 diabetes lasts for life and insulin replacement therapy must continue throughout. It is thought that a combination of genetic and environmental factors cause type 1 diabetes. People are thought to inherit genes that will tell the body to destroy beta cells. This, combined with exposure to poor diets, air pollution or poor quality environments could cause the disease to occur. Research continues.
Type 2 diabetes, sometimes known as adult onset diabetes because it was thought to occur in later life (although this is changing) is caused by insulin resistance. The beta cells in the pancreas continue to produce insulin but the body needs more insulin than secreted to process the glucose or the insulin is less effective in converting glucose into glycogen and thus reducing the blood sugar level.
Again, it is not completely clear why Type 2 diabetes occurs but being overweight is a common condition of most Type 2 diabetic people. The common assumption is that a lifestyle of eating unhealthy foods and not taking regular or adequate exercise could contribute to causing this disease.
It is believed that hereditary genes may predispose a person to acquire Type 2 diabetes but most advice on avoiding this condition is to lose weight, eat healthily and do more exercise.
Gestational diabetes is acquired during pregnancy and is a consequence of hormonal changes in the body during the pregnancy and, again, hereditary genes. Gestational diabetes generally stops after childbirth.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common of the 3 types of diabetes. It is estimated that 90% of diabetics suffer from this form of the ailment. It also seems that there is more data on how to avoid and prevent this condition than any of the others. Exercising more regularly and eating a healthy, balanced diet can significantly reduce the chances of contracting the disease. If you already have it, exercise and healthy eating can make it less intrusive to your lifestyle.