Understanding Diabetes: Treatment and Types

Diabetes is a serious chronic condition that impairs the body’s ability to process blood glucose, otherwise known as blood sugar. There are several types of diabetes, which have various treatments.

Without ongoing, careful management, diabetes can lead to a buildup of sugars in the blood, which can increase the risk of dangerous complications, including stroke, kidney failure, Retinopathy and heart ailment.

Different kinds of diabetes can occur, and how people manage the condition depends on the type. Not all forms of diabetes stem from a person being overweight or leading an inactive lifestyle. Some are present from childhood.

The most common types of diabetes include type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes, which we cover in more detail below. Less common types of diabetes include monogenic diabetes and cystic fibrosis- related.

Type 1 diabetes

There are several types of diabetes.

Also known as juvenile diabetes, type 1 DM occurs when the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone responsible for breaking down the sugar in the blood for use throughout the body. A person living with type 1 diabetes receive a diagnosis during childhood.

People living with type 1 diabetes need to administer insulin on a regular basis. Individuals may do this with injection or an insulin pump.

There is no cure for type 1 diabetes. Once a person receives their diagnosis, they will need to regularly monitor their blood sugar levels, administer insulin, and make some lifestyle changes to help manage the condition.

Successfully managing blood sugar levels can help people living with type 1 diabetes avoid serious complications. Some common complications include:

  • Ketoacidosis
  • Nerve damage
  • issues with the eyes
  • increased risk of skin infection
  • issues with the kidneys
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • foot problems, including numbness
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke

Type 2 diabetes

this is the most common type of diabetes, and it has strong links with obesity.

A person living with type 2 diabetes may or may not need insulin. In many cases, medication along with changes in exercise and diet can help manage the condition.

Anyone, including children and adults, can develop type 2 diabetes. The most common risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

  • age 45 or older
  • overweight
  • issues with the eyes
  • family history

Type 2 diabetes

It occurs during pregnancy when an individual becomes less sensitive to insulin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 2-10% of pregnancies each year result in gestational diabetes. Individuals who are overweight going into their pregnancy have an elevated
risk of developing the condition.

The CDC adds that around 50% of people with gestational diabetes will later develop type 2 diabetes.

During pregnancy, individuals can take steps to manage the condition. These include:

  • staying active
  • monitoring the growth and development of the fetus
  • adjusting their diet
  • monitoring blood sugar levels

Gestational diabetes can increase a person’s risk of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy. It can also cause:

  • premature birth
  • increased birth weight
  • blood sugar issues with the newborn, which typically clear up within a few days
  • increased risk of the baby developing type 2 diabetes later in life


or borderline diabetes, occurs when a person’s blood sugar levels are elevated but not enough for a
diagnosis of diabetes. For a doctor to diagnose prediabetes, an individual must meet the following

  • glucose tolerance levels of 140–199 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl)
  • an HbA1c test result of 5.7–6.4%
  • fasting blood sugar levels between 100–125 mg/dl


People living with prediabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but they do not
usually experience the symptoms of full diabetes.

The risk factors for a person developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are similar. They include:

  • premature birth
  • increased birth weight
  • blood sugar issues with the newborn, which typically clear up within a few days
  • increased risk of the baby developing type 2 diabetes later in life