The Overview to Know: The Most Common Forms of Diabetes

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By : dLife Editors

Diabetes is classified into various groups based on their causes.  The causes also influence the treatment approach to be adopted in handling the various forms of this metabolic disorder. The following are the different types of diabetes as well as its causes and symptoms.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, also called diabetes mellitus, occurs when immune cells attack and destroy beta cells in the pancreas that is responsible for the production of the insulin hormone.

Although the cause of this action against insulin-producing cells is not clear, it is believed in some quarters to be triggered by abnormal antibodies, environmental factors and also viral infections.

Type 1 diabetes is frequently seen in children, adolescents, and teenagers, accounting for about 5- 10% of diabetes diagnosed. Other predisposing factors are genetics, family medical history, and geography as it is endemic in regions far from the equator.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

The following are the signs and symptoms to look out for in type 1 diabetes:

  • Frequent Urination and increased thirst
  • Sweet-smelling or fruity breath
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight loss

Other symptoms of Type 1 diabetes include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Irritability
  • Sharp mood swing
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision

You can read more about the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes here.

Though there is no cure for type 1 diabetes, proper management of this metabolic disorder will require daily insulin intake.

When insulin is not taken by a type 1 patient, the body system may begin to produce ketones in the blood due to the aggressive breakdown of fats for energy. This leads to diabetic ketoacidosis, which could be fatal or lead to coma.

 Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes; it occurs when the body becomes insensitive to the effects of insulin – a situation called insulin resistance.  As this condition progresses, the body stops to produce insulin and finds it difficult to utilize glucose properly for its energy needs.

Glucose levels in the blood become elevated as it accumulates in the blood instead of being distributed to the cells.

Type 2 diabetes is seen in the elderly and it is often associated with those who have a sedentary lifestyle and who are overweight or obese. Type 2 pre-disposing factors also include family medical history, diets, race as it occurs mainly among blacks than in whites.

Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes have similar symptoms even though the sugar levels in type 2 are much higher. However, the symptoms that characterize type 2 are not obvious at the onset, in fact, it sometimes takes years before it manifests.  These symptoms include:

  • Frequent infections or slow healing of wounds
  • Dark patches on the skin

Other symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Increased thirst and frequent urination
  • Increased appetite

Even though there is no cure for diabetes, healthy eating, and active exercise have been noted to be vital in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes.  You can read more about the causes and genetic components of type 2 diabetes here.

Type 3 Diabetes

This is also referred to as Alzheimer’s disease/type 3 diabetes. Some people also call this condition rain diabetes as signified by the insufficient glucose supply to the brain; just as it happens in the case of Alzheimer’s disease.

It is known that Alzheimer’s disease patients don’t take enough glucose in the brain. This causes the glucose level of the bloodstream to be on the increase because the glucose molecules are blocked by providing nourishment to the brain cells.

Research has shown that people who suffer from Type 2 diabetes are at 60- 65% risk of having the condition progress to Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia than people whose blood sugar levels are normal.

Symptoms Of Type 3 Diabetes

Unlike Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, a person in the early stages of type 3 diabetes will not have an elevated blood sugar level. However, the following are some symptoms that are observable in an individual with Type 3 diabetes:

  • Memory loss – An individual begins to forget very vital information such as dates, events, and even location. This may necessitate writing down simple information.
  • A slow pace of doing things – Individuals with type 3 diabetes become abnormally slow. They have great difficulties in problem-solving and planning.
  • Vision impairments – They could have problems with their sight, this is usually made is detected whenever they are driving.
  • Mood changes – They have mood or personality changes, they lose things and they become withdrawn from work, social events or activities.

Most of these symptoms come with growing old, post-surgical recovery period, or the use of drugs or alcohol. These symptoms on their own do not confirm Type 3 diabetes, they must be considered carefully with other medical parameters for proper diagnosis.

Medical evidence exist which show that inhaling insulin could bring relief to individuals with Alzheimer’s diseases. Intranasal insulin could get into the brain and provide the required nourishment for the brain cells.


Prediabetes used to describe a condition in which the blood sugar level is high but not as high as seen in Type 2 diabetes. It is considered a warning sign to be addressed before the blood sugar levels progress to type 2 diabetes.

This metabolic disorder is mainly caused by the availability of excess glucose than the body can utilize at a time. It can also be due to the excessive intake of sugars and insulin resistance. The risk factors of pre-diabetes are diverse, ranging from high body weight to race, family medical history, history of gestational diabetes, inactive lifestyle, hypertension as well as smoking.

Symptoms Of Pre-Diabetes

Interestingly, pre-diabetes on its own is asymptomatic; it is only detected via routine checkup on blood sugar levels. Nevertheless, the most common symptom associated with pre-diabetics is being obese.

If pre-diabetes is not addressed properly, it could progress to type 2 and manifest the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetes can be reversed with an active exercise routine and healthy eating, feeding on low- carb foods.

Bottom Line

We’ve reviewed the various symptoms of the different types of diabetes. However, no symptom on its own can ascertain that an individual has diabetes, against this background.

Other medical parameters must be observed for the proper diagnosis of diabetes. Even though diabetes has no cure, it can be managed by the correct dosage of insulin supplementation, effective exercise engagement, proper weight management, and healthy diets.


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