Understanding the Types of Diabetes

Understanding the Types of Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a collection of diseases that influence how your body processes blood sugar. Although all four types of diabetes involve too much glucose in your blood, the causes, characteristics, and treatments differ.

If you have diabetes, you’ll need ongoing care from a medical team that understands the unique needs and complications of living with this disease. That’s where we come in. Dr. Venkata Vallury and Dr. Visalakshi Vallury at Redwood Family Health Center help folks with diabetes through McKinney and Farmers Ranch, Texas. We provide diagnoses, treatment, and support as you manage your disease and work toward a happy, healthy life. 

Types of diabetes

More than 34 million Americans have diabetes — that’s about one out of every 10 people — and more than 7 million don’t even know they have it. That’s why we want you to learn all you can about diabetes, so you can spot the signs and get treatment. To that end, here’s what you need to know about the four types of diabetes.


Prediabetes, as its name suggests, is the prequel to type 2 diabetes. Experts estimate that approximately 84 million people have prediabetes, but they don’t realize it because there usually aren’t any symptoms. You have prediabetes if your blood sugar is high but not high enough for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

You’re at risk for prediabetes if you:

The good news is that prediabetes is reversible if you catch it before it progresses into full-fledged type 2 diabetes. If you’re at risk, we can check your blood sugar with a fasting plasma glucose test or an A1C test.

Treatment of prediabetes focuses on changing the lifestyle factors that contribute to your condition, namely weight, diet, and activity. 

Type 1 diabetes

An autoimmune disease is a condition that causes your body to attack itself. Type 1 diabetes is an example of an autoimmune disease in that your body mistakes the insulin-making cells in your pancreas as foreign enemies and destroys them. 

Type 1 diabetes usually becomes evident during childhood, which is why it was called juvenile diabetes for many years. However, studies show that adults account for more than 50% of all new cases of type 1 diabetes, so the term “juvenile” is inaccurate. 

With type 1 diabetes, you may experience the following symptoms:

Unfortunately, type 1 diabetes is incurable and requires lifelong daily insulin treatment and constant blood sugar monitoring.

Type 2 diabetes

While type 1 diabetes completely destroys your pancreas’ ability to produce insulin, with type 2 diabetes, your pancreas either doesn’t produce enough insulin or your body doesn’t process it well, a condition called insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 95% of all people with diabetes. 

You may experience many of the symptoms common with type 1 diabetes, but you won’t have to take daily insulin shots for life. You will, however, have to monitor your disease closely and test your blood sugar daily. Your treatment involves a strict diet, daily exercise plan, medication, and regular appointments with our team.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes only occurs during pregnancy. Some women produce insulin-blocking hormones during pregnancy, triggering symptoms like excessive thirst or hunger. The only way to know if you have gestational diabetes is with a blood test. Your obstetrician will monitor you for gestational diabetes throughout your pregnancy, or we can do the same here. 

Although gestational diabetes is temporary, about half of all women who experience it go on to develop type 2 diabetes later, so it pays to understand your condition and take steps to prevent problems down the road. 

Other types of diabetes

In addition to the four main types of diabetes, there are other less-common types:

Untreated diabetes of any type can lead to nerve damage, heart problems, kidney damage, depression, skin infections, poor dental health, and vision problems.

Don’t ignore diabetes; contact us at Redwood Family Health Center online or by phone to schedule a blood glucose test.

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