Diabetes 101
The Basics
What is diabetes?
It is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and is necessary to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy.

Type 1 diabetes
Previously called insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile onset diabetes, Type 1 is believed to develop when the body’s immune system destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. As a result, people with type 1 need to give themselves insulin using either syringes or pumps. This form of diabetes usually develops in children and young adults, although it can develop at any age. It is estimated that between 5-15% of people worldwide with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. In the US, approximately 10% have type 1. No one really knows exactly what causes type 1 diabetes and there is nothing you can do to prevent it. Risk factors for type 1 may include autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors.

Type 2 diabetes
Accounting for approximately 85-95 percent of all diagnosed cases, Type 2 diabetes is a result of the body being unable to produce enough insulin or use it properly. Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. As the body's need for insulin rises, the pancreas gradually loses its ability to produce insulin. Eventually supplemental insulin is required. Type 2 is associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose metabolism, physical inactivity, and race/ethnicity. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, some Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders are at particularly high risk for type 2. Unfortunately, due to diet and a sedentary lifestyle, type 2 diabetes is increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents.

Gestational diabetes
It is a form of glucose intolerance that is diagnosed in some women during pregnancy. Pregnant women who have never had diabetes before but who have high blood sugar (glucose) levels during pregnancy are said to have gestational diabetes. It affects about 4% of all pregnant women. There are approximately 135,000 cases of gestational diabetes in the United States each year. There is a correlation between gestational diabetes and developing diabetes later in life. Women who develop gestational diabetes have a 20-50% chance of developing diabetes in the next 5 -10 years.