The three main types are:
Type 1 diabetes, formerly called juvenile diabetes, is usually first diagnosed in:
- Young adults.
In this type of diabetes, the beta cells of the pancreas no longer make insulin because the body's immune system has attacked and destroyed them.
Type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset diabetes, is the most common type. People can develop type 2 at any age -- even during childhood. This form of the condition usually begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which muscle, liver, and fat cells do not use insulin properly. At first, the pancreas keeps up with the added demand by producing more insulin. In time, however, it loses the ability to secrete enough insulin in response to meals.
Gestational diabetes develops in some women during the late stages of pregnancy. Although this form of the condition usually goes away after the baby is born, a woman who has had it is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Gestational diabetes is caused by pregnancy hormones or by a shortage of insulin.
Out of every 100 pregnant women in the United States, 3 to 8 will develop this type of diabetes.
To move away from basing the names of the two main types of diabetes on treatment or age at onset, in 1997, two organizations recommended a universal adoption of simplified terminology.
The preferred name "type 1 diabetes" was recommended to replace the former names of:
- Type I diabetes
- Juvenile diabetes
- Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
The preferred name "type 2 diabetes" was recommended to replace the former names of:
- Type II diabetes
- Adult-onset diabetes
- Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus