Common diabetes types
If asked to list diabetes types, most people would stop after Type 1 and Type 2. However, there are other variants of diabetes which can also impair a person’s health in several ways. While each of these types acts on the blood glucose levels in our body, they differ in the intensity and the symptoms they manifest.
Type 1 diabetes is commonly diagnosed in children and occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce sufficient insulin. Insulin is a hormone which helps the body use glucose in the blood for energy. Without it, blood glucose levels surge to very high levels, and cause other health complications. Type 2 diabetes occurs when a normal individual is not able to respond effectively to normal levels of insulin production. This can occur due to excess fat accumulation in the body, which prevents the uptake of glucose and response to insulin. Over a long period of time, type 2 diabetes can become equally disabling if left unchecked.
Uncommon diabetes types
Brittle diabetes is a less common variant of type 2 diabetes, which affects significantly fewer people. However, individuals who do have brittle diabetes experience more frequent and extreme swings in their blood glucose levels, and are required to monitor their levels more closely than others. While the effects of this type of diabetes are much more drastic, they can be brought under control with rigorous treatment with insulin and other medication.
Gestational diabetes is yet another uncommon kind of diabetes which affects pregnant mothers in the third trimester. The frequency is very low – only 3 to 5% of pregnant mothers develop this diabetes – but the condition can quickly grow worse if undiagnosed. For this reason, doctors monitor blood glucose much more closely beyond the 24th week of pregnancy.
The high glucose content in the blood from any of these types of diabetes can cause several health complications. It can accumulate in the blood vessels, cutting off oxygen and nutrient supply to muscles and nerves. This can lead to a condition called peripheral neuropathy where the nerves undergo severe damage. The accumulation can also elevate blood pressure and increase risk of heart disease.
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