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Types of Diabetes

Know Your Type

There are several types of diabetes, but the two main types are type 1 and type 2. In both types there is an insulin problem, but for different reasons.

Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes

  • The pancreas makes very little or no insulin because the body’s immune system mistakenly destroys the cells that make insulin.
  • Since the body cannot make insulin, those with type 1 diabetes must take insulin throughout each day.
  • Only 5 to 10 percent of people with diabetes have type 1.
  • Type 1 diabetes usually occurs in children, teens, or young adults, but can happen at any age.

Type 2 diabetes

    • The body cannot use insulin well (insulin resistance).
    • Insulin resistance causes a higher demand for insulin.
    • Higher insulin demand burns out the cells that make insulin, so not enough insulin can be made (beta cell burnout).
    • 90 to 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2.
    • Type 2 diabetes usually occurs after age 30, but can happen at any age.

    If you have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you can learn to manage your condition and live a long, healthy, happy life. Even young children can learn to self-manage diabetes.  

    Learn how the foods and activities you enjoy can still be a part of your life without sacrificing diabetes control, and know how to monitor your A1C


    Before you develop Type 2 diabetes, you almost always have pre-diabetes. This condition occurs when your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. An estimated 79 million people have this condition. The experts at Dignity Health Central California hospitals can monitor you and help keep you healthy.

    Gestational Diabetes

    The following factors can increase your risk of developing gestational diabetes:

    • Age 25 or older
    • Have a parent who has diabetes
    • Are overweight, especially if your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher
    • Have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
    • Have a pre-existing medical condition that makes diabetes likely, such as glucose intolerance
    • Take medications like glucocorticoids (for asthma or an autoimmune disease), or beta-blockers (for high blood pressure or a rapid heart rate)
    • Personal history of gestational diabetes
    • Previously had a larger than average baby (9lbs+)++
    • African American, Native American, Asian American, Hispanic, or Pacific Islander descent

    During pregnancy, usually at around 24-28 weeks or later, many women learn that they have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. A diagnosis of gestational diabetes does not mean that you had diabetes before you conceived, or that you will have diabetes after giving birth. But it’s important to follow your doctor’s advice regarding blood glucose (blood sugar) levels while you’re pregnant, so you and your baby both remain healthy

    Moms-to-be who have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes can lower risk of diabetes for themselves and baby. Learn more about diabetes during pregnancy.