General Practice 2022

4 main types of diabetes

Table of contents:

4 main types of diabetes
4 main types of diabetes

The main types of diabetes mellitus are type 1 and type 2, which have some differences, such as in relation to their cause, and may be autoimmune, as in the case of type 1, or associated with genetics and lifestyle habits, as in type 2.

These types of diabetes can also vary according to the treatment, which can be done with the use of medication in pill form or with the application of insulin.

However, there are still other variants of these types of diabetes, which are gestational diabetes, which appears in pregnant women as a result of hormonal changes during this period, Latent Autoimmune Adult Diabetes, or LADA, and Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young, or MODY, which mix characteristics of type 1 and 2 diabetes.

So, to better understand the difference between the types of diabetes, it is important to know how each disease develops:

1. Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, in which the body mistakenly attacks the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin, destroying them. Thus, the lack of insulin production causes an accumulation of glucose in the blood, which can bring harm to various organs, such as renal failure, retinopathy or diabetic ketoacidosis.

Initially, this disease may not cause symptoms, however, in some cases it may appear:

  • Frequent urge to urinate;
  • Excessive thirst and hunger;
  • Weight loss with no apparent cause.

This type of diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood or adolescence, as this is when this change in immunity occurs.

Typically, treatment for type 1 diabetes involves daily injections of insulin, in addition to a low-sugar, low-carbohydrate diet. Learn how to eat and what you should and should not eat if you have diabetes.

It is also important that patients maintain the regular practice of physical exercise, under the guidance of an educator, to help control sugar levels and maintain a regulated metabolism.

2. Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, being caused by genetic factors along with poor lifestyle habits, such as excessive consumption of sugar, fat, physical inactivity, overweight or obesity, which cause defects in production and action of insulin in the body.

Usually, this type of diabetes is detected in people over 40, as it develops over time and, in the early stages, does not cause symptoms, causing damage to the body silently.However, in severe and untreated cases, it can cause the following symptoms:

  • Constant feeling of thirst;
  • Excessive hunger;
  • Feeling frequent urination;
  • Weight loss with no apparent cause;
  • Difficulty healing wounds;
  • Vision blurred.

Before diabetes sets in, a person usually has had a period of high blood glucose for several months or years, which is called pre-diabetes. At this stage, it is still possible to prevent the development of the disease, through physical activities and diet control. Understand how to identify and treat pre-diabetes to prevent the disease from developing.

Treatment of type 2 diabetes is done with drugs to control blood glucose, such as metformin, glibenclamide or gliclazide, for example, prescribed by the general practitioner or endocrinologist.However, depending on the patient's he alth status or the worsening of blood sugar levels, daily use of insulin may be necessary.

In addition to pharmacological treatment, you should also maintain a controlled diet with sugar and other carbohydrates and also fats, in addition to being important to practice regular physical exercise. These measures are essential for the correct control of the disease and for an aging process with a better quality of life. Learn more about the treatment and consequences of type 2 diabetes.

Differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes

In the table is a summary of the main differences between these two types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes Type 2 Diabetes
Cause An autoimmune disease, in which the body attacks the cells in the pancreas, which stop producing insulin. Genetic predisposition, in people who have risk factors, such as overweight, sedentary lifestyle, diet with excess carbohydrates, fats and s alt.
Age Common in children and adolescents, usually from 10 to 14 years old. Most of the time, in people over 40 who have had a previous period of pre-diabetes.
Symptoms The most common are dry mouth, excessive urination, extreme hunger and weight loss. The most common are weight loss, excessive urination, tiredness, weakness, altered healing and blurred vision.
Treatment Use of insulin divided into multiple doses or in an insulin pump daily. Use of antidiabetic pills, daily. It may be necessary to use insulin in more advanced cases.

The diagnosis of diabetes should be made with blood tests that identify excess glucose in the circulation, such as fasting blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin, glucose tolerance test and capillary blood glucose test. See how these tests are performed and the values ‚Äč‚Äčthat confirm diabetes.

3. Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes appears during pregnancy and can be diagnosed in glucose tests after 22 weeks of gestation, and is also caused by dysfunction in the production and action of insulin in the body.

Generally, it happens in women who already have a genetic predisposition or who have unhe althy lifestyle habits, such as a diet with excess fats and sugars.

The symptoms of gestational diabetes are similar to those of type 2 diabetes and its treatment is done with proper nutrition and exercise to control diabetes, as it tends to disappear after the baby is born.However, in most cases, insulin is required for proper blood glucose control.

Learn more about the symptoms of gestational diabetes, its risks and how to treat it.

4. Other types

There are also other ways to develop diabetes, which are rarer and can be triggered by different reasons. Some of them are:

  • Adult Latent Autoimmune Diabetes, or LADA, is an autoimmune form of diabetes, but it happens in adults. This type is generally suspected in adults with type 2 diabetes who have a very rapid impairment of pancreas function and who need to use insulin early;
  • Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young, or MODY, is a type of diabetes that occurs in young people but is milder than type 1 diabetes and more like diabetes type 2.Thus, it is not necessary to use insulin right from the start. This type of diabetes is becoming more and more common, due to the increase in the number of obese children;
  • Genetic defects that can cause changes in insulin production or action;
  • Diseases of the pancreas, such as tumor, infection, or fibrosis;
  • Endocrine diseases such as Cushing's syndrome, pheochromocytoma and acromegaly, for example;
  • Diabetes triggered by medication, such as corticosteroids.

There is also a disease called diabetes insipidus which, despite having a similar name, is not diabetes, being a disease related to changes in hormones that produce urine. If you want to know more about this disease, see how to identify and treat diabetes insipidus.

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