Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot properly process sugar. Sugar is essential for the body’s energy needs, so when sugar levels are too high or too low, it can lead to serious health problems. Diabetes can be caused by several things, including genetics, diet, and lifestyle.
There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, usually develops in childhood or adolescence. In Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin, which is needed to convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy. People with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin injections to survive. Type 2 diabetes, which used to be called adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, develops when the body doesn’t use insulin properly or doesn’t make enough insulin.
People with Type 2 diabetes usually control their blood sugar levels with diet and exercise, although some may eventually need medication or insulin injections. Gestational diabetes is a third type of diabetes that only pregnant women get. During pregnancy, some women have high blood sugar levels, and their bodies cannot produce enough insulin to transport all of the sugar into their cells, resulting in gestational diabetes. Most women with gestational diabetes will have normal blood sugar levels after birth. However, they are at increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.