There are three main types of diabetes – type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes (diabetes of pregnancy).
TYPE 1 DIABETES
Type 1 diabetes is when the body cannot produce any insulin. It is treated with insulin injections, although careful eating and regular exercise are key in managing the condition. Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease.
Who gets type 1 diabetes
There is a genetic link but the cause is unknown. Typically it has a quick onset of symptoms, and usually, but not always, appears in children and young adults aged less than 30 years of age though it can occur at any age.
TYPE 2 DIABETES
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes.
In type 2 diabetes, the body may not be making enough insulin , may not be making insulin quickly enough after eating a meal, or the body does not respond fully to the insulin which is produced – this is called ‘insulin resistance’. When people have insulin resistance, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by the cells, leading to type 2 diabetes.
Who gets type 2 diabetes
The cause of type 2 diabetes is not fully understood. It can affect anyone, at any age. Type 2 diabetes often starts as people age, but is becoming more common in adolescents and children. Increasing obesity and lack of physical activity is causing people to get diabetes at a younger age. However, it is not only people who are overweight or with obesity who develop diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can also run in families and is more common amongst particular ethnic groups.
While anyone can get diabetes, population groups in New Zealand at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes include; Mãori, Pacific, Indo-Asian, Asian and people with a whãnau / family history of diabetes. There are other factors such as obesity and sitting too much (a sedentary lifestyle) that also increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
DIABETES OF PREGNANCY
Gestational (jes-TAY-shon-al) diabetes
This is a type of diabetes that some women get during pregnancy. It is one of the most common health problems of pregnancy.
Many women with gestational diabetes develop diabetes within 5 - 10 years after delivery. It also raises her child’s risk of being overweight and getting diabetes.
When you're pregnant, hormonal changes can make your cells less responsive to insulin and it’s ability to regulate glucose in the body. For most mothers-to-be, this isn't a problem; when the body needs additional insulin, the pancreas provides more of it. But if the pancreas can't keep up with the increased insulin demand during pregnancy, your blood glucose levels rise too high, resulting in gestational diabetes.
Consulting your healthcare professional before becoming pregnant is advised for all women, plus attending routine healthcare appointments and checking for diabetes after your pregnancy if you have developed gestational diabetes.
WHAT IS PRE-DIABETES?
Type 2 diabetes is commonly preceded by pre-diabetes. In pre-diabetes, blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be defined as diabetes. Many people with pre-diabetes develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Pre-diabetes also increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. With modest weight loss and moderate physical activity, people with pre-diabetes can delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes rates rising - one in five Kiwis at risk
Researchers have published the first reliable evidence of the prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes in Mew Zealand. The number of people with diabetes is likely to rise significantly in future years unless effective prevention strategies are introduced. Caroline Wood reports.
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