Diabetes is a disease where the body either stops producing insulin or it develops a resistance to the insulin that the body does produce. Insulin is required by the body to properly use glucose, or sugar, in the body. Without enough insulin to break down and use this sugar, high levels of glucose accumulate in the blood. Long-term exposure to high blood glucose levels can lead to serious complications. Sometimes, medications, including insulin, may be required to manage symptoms of diabetes. However, sometimes lifestyle changes are enough to keep this disease under control.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas no longer produces insulin. It was previously referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes because those who suffer from Type 1 diabetes need to take insulin, usually in the form of injections, to make up for what the pancreas does not produce. Type 1 diabetes often begins in childhood, and used to be referred to as juvenile diabetes. Now it is referred to as Type 1 diabetes in children. Those with Type 1 diabetes not only need to take insulin but they also need to watch how much sugar and carbohydrates they consume as well, to prevent high blood glucose levels, which can damage many parts of the body.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when either the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body becomes resistant to the insulin that the pancreas does produce. This type of diabetes occurs most often in adults. However, with the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, it is being seen in children as well. Type 2 diabetes may need to be controlled with medication. Sometimes this type of diabetes can be controlled with proper diet and exercise. A diabetic diet is similar to a heart-healthy diet. Sometimes a nutritionist is required to help the person with Type 2 diabetes to make healthier food choices or to go on a restricted type diet. A physician can help decide the proper diet and exercise plan to follow, depending on the severity of the diabetes and other health matters.
Prediabetes is not truly diabetes, but is often a precursor to the development of Type 2 diabetes. Blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be labeled as diabetes or to require medication. Lifestyle changes to diet and exercise are generally enough to control this condition and to prevent the development of diabetes.