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Understanding the Different Types of Diabetes

Having diabetes in any form means that your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar is impaired. Glucose is the body’s primary fuel source. You get it in your diet in the form of carbohydrates. What your body doesn’t use immediately, it converts to a storage form for later use. Because diabetes damages the body and increases the risk of health problems, it’s crucial to work with a health professional to keep your blood sugar in a target range.

Here at Burlington Medical Center in Burlington, North Carolina, board-certified internal medicine specialist Dr. Sam Morayati and our team are devoted to providing top-quality comprehensive care to help you achieve and maintain good health. Here’s what you should know about different forms of diabetes. 

Pre-diabetes 

An estimated 88 million Americans have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. This is known as pre-diabetes because many people with elevated blood sugar will go on to develop diabetes. While most people have no symptoms, detecting blood sugar problems early gives you and your doctor the opportunity to formulate a plan and take action to keep you from developing diabetes.

Knowing your numbers is the best place to start. A normal blood sugar between meals is below 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). A normal A1C is below 5.7% and an A1C of 5.7% to 6.4% indicates prediabetes. The A1C test is used to estimate your average blood sugar over the past three months. 

Type 1 diabetes 

In type 1 diabetes the pancreas produces little to no insulin. This type of diabetes usually develops in childhood. However, it can appear in adulthood. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin to compensate for the lack of insulin from the pancreas. There’s no way to prevent type 1 diabetes. Certain genes may put you at risk. A family history of type 1 diabetes increases the chances of developing it. Type 1 accounts for only about 5% of cases of diabetes. 

Type 2 diabetes

Roughly 90 to 95% of people with diabetes have type 2. It most often develops after the age of 45. However, more young adults, adolescents, and even children are developing type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes is the result of insulin resistance. This means that your body isn’t responding as it should to insulin, a hormone that lowers blood sugar. As a result, blood sugar levels remain high. 

To compensate the pancreas releases more insulin and a vicious cycle ensues. Over time the pancreas may lose its ability to keep up with the demand for insulin. Type 2 diabetes is mostly managed through diet and lifestyle changes. 

In some circumstances, your doctor may prescribe a medication to help lower your blood sugar. The good news, type 2 diabetes responds very well to changes such as adopting a healthy diet, exercising, and weight loss. 

Gestational diabetes

Sometimes high blood sugar develops during pregnancy. This is called gestational diabetes. Controlling your blood sugar can help keep you and your baby healthy and prevent complications. 

If you develop gestational diabetes your doctor will monitor you closely and will act promptly to manage your blood sugar levels. The good news is, gestational diabetes typically goes away on its own soon after you give birth. In a small number of cases, it does not go away and develops into type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a manageable condition. You can take steps to manage your blood sugar so that you reduce the risk of complications. It’s never too late to adopt healthier habits and improve your blood sugar. 

To learn more and for all of your primary care needs, contact us at Burlington Medical Center to schedule an appointment with Dr. Morayati at our Burlington, North Carolina office. We also offer in-person and telehealth appointments.

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