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People can get diabetes at any age. Type 1, type 2, gestational, and pre-diabetes are the four main kinds. Type 1 diabetes, formerly called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is usually first diagnosed in children, teenagers, or young adults. With this form of diabetes, the beta cells of the pancreas no longer make insulin because the body’s immune system has attacked and destroyed them. Treatment for type 1 diabetes includes taking insulin and possibly another injectable medicine, making wise food choices, being physically active, taking aspirin daily—for some—and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.
Type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset diabetes or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, is the most common form of diabetes. People can develop type 2 diabetes at any age—even during childhood. This form of diabetes usually begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which fat, muscle, and liver cells do not use insulin properly. At first, the pancreas keeps up with the added demand by producing more insulin. In time, however, it loses the ability to secrete enough insulin in response to meals. Being overweight and inactive increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Treatment includes using diabetes medicines, making wise food choices, being physically active, taking aspirin daily—for some—and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.
Some women develop gestational diabetes during the late stages of pregnancy. Although this form of diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born, a woman who has had it is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Gestational diabetes is caused by the hormones of pregnancy or a shortage of insulin.
Pre-diabetes means you have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. Glucose is a form of sugar your body uses for energy. Too much glucose in your blood can damage your body over time. Pre-diabetes is also called impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). If you have pre-diabetes, you are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Being overweight and physically inactive contributes to pre-diabetes. You can sometimes reverse pre-diabetes with weight loss that comes from healthy eating and physical activity.