Diabetes is a chronic health condition that occurs when the body is no longer able to use insulin, or the pancreas is no longer able to produce insulin.
Insulin is a hormone (signalling molecule) that is produced by the pancreas. Insulin acts like a key to that allows the sugars from digested carbohydrates into cells throughout the body.
When blood sugar is higher than normal, it is call hyperglycaemia. This can be a sign that the body is no longer sensitive to insulin or not producing enough. Over time, these high blood sugar levels can lead to complications.
There are 4 types of diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes: is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune cells attack the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Over a period of a few months, the pancreas produces little to no insulin and daily insulin injections are required.
Approximately 10% of people with diabetes have type 1 and diagnosis happens from the results of blood tests for pancreatic autoantibodies.
Type 1.5 (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adulthood, LADA) is similar to type 1 diabetes because it is an autoimmune condition; however, it differs because it develops slowly over time in adults. Many healthcare providers can mistake LADA as type 2 diabetes because it can develop over years.
LADA occurs in 5-10% of diabetes causes and is diagnosed by a blood test for the presence of pancreatic autoantibodies.
Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes and represents 80-85% of all diabetes cases. It typically occurs in older individuals and progresses gradually. Type 2 diabetes begins with insulin resistance, where cells in the body do not respond to the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas. Over time, the pancreas will produce higher amounts of insulin to try and move sugars out of the blood, which can lead to pancreas fatigue.
Frontline management of Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes includes physical activity and nutrition support. If this is not successful, drug therapy might be required. Insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes is identified from blood test of blood sugar and A1c.
Gestational Diabetes occurs in women without diabetes during the third trimester of pregnancy. The body is not able to produce enough insulin with the effects of the growing baby and changes in other hormones. Gestational diabetes typically goes away after the baby is born.