Type 1 basically means your body does not make insulin at all or very little so all persons with this type must take insulin daily for the rest of their lives. This type of diabetes accounts for about 5 to 10% of all Diabetes cases and is unavoidable. Type 1 Diabetes is usually found in children and young adults, but you can get this type at any age. People with Type 1 Diabetes must control their glucose levels daily and can live a very normal productive life if they learn to control their blood sugar and eat right.
The following are possible causes of Type 1 Diabetes:
- When autoimmunity (when the body’s own immune system attacks itself) tends to run in your direct blood family.
- Non-breastfed babies
- Triggered by a virus
This type of diabetes accounts for about 90 to 95% of all total Diabetes cases including 30 to 50% of Diabetes cases in Children. Type 2 Diabetes is the main focus of the Latino Diabetes Association. Persons with Type 2 Diabetes are often overweight or have it in their family. It is very important for Type 2 Diabetics to lose weight, exercise, eat healthy, stop smoking, not use illegal drugs, drink very little alcohol if at all only if their glucose is in control, lower their stress, and take their prescribed medications correctly so they can avoid serious complications and live a healthy, happy, and normal life.
The following are risk factors that can increase your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes:
- Obesity or being overweight, especially belly fat in men
- Hereditary/Genes; having a family history of diabetes: a first degree relative (immediate blood family) with diabetes
- Lack of Exercise and Physical Activity
- Being a member of high a risk ethnic population (simply being Latino for example). The most high risk ethnic populations include Latino, African-American, Native-American, and some Asian groups, but diabetes is becoming an epidemic in ALL ethnicities including Caucasians/Whites
- Being over 30 years of age. This increases with persons over 45
- Having Prediabetes
- Have a history of Gestational Diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
- Giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
- Using certain medications like steroids
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Gestational Diabetes is a another type of diabetes women sometimes get during pregnancy, but usually goes away after the birth of the baby. This usually happens in women that do not eat right or have a baby weighing 9 pounds or more. Their glucose can cross the placenta and go directly into the baby’s circulation. Your baby will then process the glucose, possibly growing too large for a safe vaginal delivery, where a caesarian section (C-Section) might be necessary. There is much evidence that shows these infants may have problems as they get older and are at a much greater risk of developing diabetes themselves later in life. Remember that children are developing Type 2 Diabetes at a much younger age these days; sometimes as early as 5 years old! If your doctor diagnoses you with gestational diabetes (GDM), you will be asked to follow a diet and monitor your glucose for up to 8 times a day. The diet is designed to give you the nutrition you need without overworking your body’s ability to process glucose. The reason for this diet and monitoring is to prevent the glucose from crossing the placenta and moving into your baby’s circulation.
If you are unable to maintain a glucose level of less than 90mg/dL fasting (before eating) and less than 126mg/dL after eating, your doctor may prescribe oral medications or even insulin. Once your baby is delivered, your blood glucose may normalize. Still, the most important thing to do is avoid all of this and maintain a healthy lifestyle as you are at high risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Be sure to follow up with your doctor 6 weeks after your delivery and every year after that to make sure you are healthy and diabetes free.