Types of Diabetes
What are the Types of Diabetes?

The purpose of this leaf is to explain basic information on the three most common types of diabetes:

  • TYPE I (also called juvenile diabetes).
  • TYPE II (also called adult onset diabetes).
  • GESTATIONAL (diabetes of pregnancy)
    • Gestational means during pregnancy.
What is Type 1 diabetes?

  • Also called juvenile diabetes.
  • In this diabetes, the body does not produce insulin.
  • Insulin has to be given daily.
  • This type of diabetes occurs more commonly among children and youth, but lasts a lifetime.
  • Type 1 diabetes, which few Native Americans have, is often a sudden illness. The body (actually, the pancreas, a gland which sits behind the stomach) stops making insulin. It's not really understood why. Sometimes it happens after trauma to the belly area. The sugar immediately begins to build up in the blood and within hours or days the person is very ill. The blood sugars may be as high as 1,000. If not diagnosed and treated promptly, it can be fatal.

    People with type 1 diabetes can live very normal lives by taking insulin daily. Researchers are developing ways to transplant pancreas tissue to provide a regular internal source of insulin again.

What is type 2 diabetes?

  • Formerly called adult onset diabetes.
  • Develops when the body does not produce enough insulin or can't use its own insulin well
  • This type of diabetes is the one which most American Indians and Alaska Natives get.
  • In type 2 diabetes the body becomes unable to use its own insulin. This is called insulin resistance. But this happens very gradually. So the blood sugar may rise very slowly over months or years. For this reason the person doesn't usually suddenly get ill. They may have no symptoms for a long time. But even though they don't feel ill, the high blood sugar is causing complications, such as damaging the blood vessels in the heart and eyes.

What is Gestational Diabetes

  • Also called 'diabetes of pregnancy'.
  • Pregnancy can trigger Type 2 diabetes.
  • Once the baby is delivered, the blood sugar usually returns to normal.
  • Women who have gestational diabetes have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Gestational diabetes and newborns

  • Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes often weigh more.
  • Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes are at greater risk of developing diabetes as they get older.
  • Breastfeeding Indian babies decreases their risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
Can you have diabetes and become pregnant?

  • Yes, you can become pregnant.
  • But, your prenatal care during this and other pregnancies will have to be closely monitored by your doctor.
  • You may need to see your doctor more often.
  • You may need to be on insulin while you are pregnant.
  • Your medicine and your blood sugar testing may also be more frequent so that both you and the baby remain healthy.

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