Types of Diabetes

by Katelyn Schwanke
(last updated September 5, 2008)

Diabetes is one of the most commonly diagnosed diseases in the United States. People of all ages and ethnicities can be diagnosed with diabetes. There are three kinds of diabetes that are commonly diagnosed, these include diabetes mellitus type 1, diabetes mellitus type 2 and diabetes insipidus.

Diabetes mellitus, or sugar diabetes, deals with your body's ability to properly use sugar. In a properly working body, glucose (sugar molecules) enters the body in the form of food and is broken down to either be stored or used for their primary purpose: energy. With diabetes mellitus your body struggles to produce or accept the hormone called insulin. Insulin is secreted (distributed) by one of the body's main digestive and hormone regulatory centers, the pancreas. Sometimes the pancreas does not make enough insulin, and sometimes the body's tissues that are meant to recognize insulin for sugar absorption do not.

Patients with type 1 diabetes are insulin dependent, meaning that their bodies do not make enough insulin for sugar to enter muscles and tissues for energy. Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in early childhood, but can be diagnosed at anytime during life. Patients with type 2 diabetes are insulin resistant, meaning that their bodies do not respond well to insulin's attempt to bring sugar, or energy, into the body's tissues. Type 2 diabetes is most commonly found in adults. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can be managed with shots of insulin. Type 2 diabetes can sometimes be "cured" through proper diet and exercise.

Diabetes insipidus is found in people who do not make enough of a hormone called anti-diuretic hormone (ADH). ADH is a hormone that helps your body maintain water. If you have diabetes insipidus you will urinate more and become dehydrated extremely quickly. Diabetes insipidus is generally managed with prescription medication from a physician.

Ask your doctor if you are at risk for any type of diabetes and he will be able to help you prevent onset or diagnose in early stages of the disease's development.

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