Types of diabetes

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Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (sugar) for the body to use as energy.  The pancreas, an organ near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin, which helps glucose to get into the body’s cells. 

When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin very well. This causes glucose to build up in your blood, eventually leading to many health problems and complications.

There are 3 types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes: your body does not produce enough insulin.
  • Type 2 diabetes: your body does not produce and use insulin properly. Most people with diabetes have type 2.
  • Gestational diabetes: a type of diabetes that develops in about 4 percent of pregnant women during the second half of pregnancy. Women who have never had diabetes before can develop gestational diabetes. Women who have gestational diabetes are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes after pregnancy. Work with your doctor on a plan to lower your risk.

Reviewed by: Joshua May, MD, February 2019

© 2019 Kaiser Permanente

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