Types of Diabetes

A Majority of Cases are Preventable

Below are descriptions of type 2, type 1, and gestational diabetes. This website focuses on the prevention of type 2 diabetes, which is the most common and preventable type of the disease.
Type 2 diabetes:
Insulin is a hormone that allows your cells to receive glucose, which goes into your bloodstream when you eat or drink. Glucose is a common and important source of energy for your cells. When your cells become less responsive to insulin, your body’s pancreas tries to make more insulin to stimulate the cells to respond and absorb more glucose. This eventually causes the insulin-making cells to tire out and begin to fail. The insulin shortage leads to type 2 diabetes, a disease in which you have excess glucose in your bloodstream. Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes because it was rarely seen in children and adolescents. But, with the rising rates of childhood obesity, it has become more common in youth. It has also become more common in Asia due to recent rapid changes in diet and lifestyle. Studies have shown that Asians are at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes compared with Caucasians at the same body-mass index.1 Although genetic risk factors play a part in type 2 diabetes, it is largely preventable through simple steps like keeping your weight under control, exercising more, eating a healthy diet, and not smoking.2
Type 1 diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease that occurs when the immune system attacks and permanently disables the insulin-making cells in the pancreas, leading to inadequate insulin production and excess glucose in your bloodstream. This type of diabetes used to be called juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent diabetes. About 5 to 10 percent of diagnosed diabetes cases are type 1 diabetes.3
Gestational diabetes:
Some women who do not have diabetes before pregnancy have high blood sugar levels while pregnant and develop gestational diabetes. With this condition, the body is not able to make or use all of the insulin needed for pregnancy. If a mother does not seek treatment and control this condition during pregnancy, the baby may have problems with excess body fat and insulin at birth, which can increase the risk of breathing problems and diabetes later in life.
The prevalence of gestational diabetes varies widely throughout Asia. However, certain portions of India, such as Chennai, have consistently high rates of gestational diabetes, as high as 16% among pregnant women. Moreover, in recent times, the prevalence of gestational diabetes has been increasing in China, Hong Kong, and Thailand.4 Read more about the effects of gestational diabetes at our sister site, The Obesity Prevention Source.
1 Chan JC, Malik V, Jia W, et al. Diabetes in Asia: epidemiology, risk factors, and pathophysiology. JAMA. 2009;301(20):2129-40. 
3  National Diabetes Statistics, 2011. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/statistics/. Published February 2011. Accessed August 12, 2013.
4 Hirst JE, Raynes-Greenow CH, Jeffery HE. A systematic review of trends of gestational diabetes mellitus in Asia. Journal of Diabetology. 2012;3:4.