The Different Types of Diabetes Explained

The endocrine system, which consists of a number of glands that create and maintain certain levels of hormones in the body, is a very complex system. In most cases, when everything is working as it should, the functions of the endocrine system go unnoticed, but when something goes wrong, the results can be very serious. One of the most common disorders to affect the endocrine system, especially in the United States, is Diabetes Mellitus.

Diabetes Mellitus is a disease the deals with the process in which the body adsorbs and uses foods. Under normal conditions, the body takes food, such as sugars and starches, and turns it into a special type of sugar called glucose. The glucose is then used as one of the bodies main energy sources. When the body needs to use the glucose, a hormone called insulin comes into play.

Insulin, which is created by the pancreas, is responsible for turning glucose into energy. For those with diabetes, the body has no trouble converting the food into glucose, but when it comes time to turn the glucose back into energy, there is a problem. Sometimes this problem is caused by the body not producing enough insulin and other times it is caused because the body becomes immune to the effects of insulin. The specific reason is characteristic of what type of diabetes the individual has.

In Type I Diabetes, insulin is not produced in enough quantities and sometimes the pancreas stops producing it all together. Type I Diabetes had until recently been known as Juvenile Diabetes, because it was mostly found in children, but doctors no longer use this term, because it can occur in people of all ages. However, it is still more common among children and younger adults.

Type II Diabetes shares many of the same symptoms and health risks as Type I Diabetes, but in Type II Diabetes, the body is not able to properly use the insulin that is produced. Type II Diabetes has also been called Maturity-Onset Diabetes or Adult Diabetes, because it is typically found in older individuals. It is also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes, because the disease is not caused by a lack of insulin and thus can not typically be treated by administering insulin shots.

Gestational Diabetes is a type of non-insulin-dependent diabetes, which occurs in women while they are pregnant. Typically it goes away after the child is born, however about half of those who develop gestational diabetes will later be diagnosed with Type II Diabetes.

Secondary Diabetes is very common among cancer patients and is caused by damage to the pancreas. This damage can be caused by diseases like cancer, chemicals, or medicines.

Impaired Glucose Tolerance, which used to be referred to as borderline diabetes or latent diabetes, is characterized by a blood glucose level that falls between normal and diabetic. Today, impaired glucose tolerance is no longer considered to be a type of diabetes, but those diagnosed with this disorder are more likely to develop diabetes at a later stage in life.

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