People with Type 1 diabetes have too much glucose because their immune system has wiped out the special cells in the pancreas (called beta cells) that make insulin- a hormone that helps the cells use glucose for growth and healing. For this reason, Type 1 is often referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes, because people who have it need to take insulin to make their blood glucose levels normal.
In the short term, excess glucose in the body can cause rapid weight loss, frequent urination, extreme thirst and hunger, fatigue, fainting and even coma. In the long term, untreated diabetes can result in eye, nerve, kidney and heart damage.
Type 1 diabetes can occur at any time between infancy and the late 30s (and, rarely, up to age 75), but it most often appears between the ages of nine and 11. Researchers don`t know why it happens in some children and not others, but they do believe it is, at least partially, genetic. Half of the people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes are under age 20.
Risk factors for Type 1 Diabetes
The use of certain drugs:
- Genetics. Either the parents or grandparents suffer from it.
- Caucasian. Type 1 diabetes strikes people of every race, but it is most common among white people.
Type 2 diabetes is also called adult-onset diabetes because it primarily affects adults of middle age and older people. In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas still create some insulin.
Risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes
- Genetics:Like Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 disease also runs in families.
- Age: Most people diagnosed with Type 2 are over age 40. Half of all new cases are people age 55 and older.
- Being overweight or obese: Insulin resistance increases with weight.
- Sedentary lifestyle: Insulin resistance increases with lack of exercise.
- Stress : Many patients report that the diagnosis of diabetes was made following a stressful event such an accident or bereavement.
- Women who have had gestational diabetes.
Thiazide diuretics (used to manage high blood pressure) and steroids (used to help with inflammatory conditions) may contribute to Type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes develops in pregnant women with no previous history of diabetes, and in most cases - but not all - clear up after the mother has delivered her baby. The mother`s glucose rises due to hormones secreted during pregnancy and she cannot produce enough insulin to handle the higher blood glucose levels. Although gestational diabetes usually vanishes after pregnancy, about 60 per cent women who have had gestational diabetes eventually end up developing Type 2 diabetes.