Diabetes Home > Type 2 Diabetes

Other Types of Diabetes

There are two main types of diabetes. In one form of diabetes, people must take insulin every day. This is called type 1 diabetes, formerly known as juvenile-onset diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is often first seen in children, teenagers, or adults under age 30.
 
The second form of diabetes happens when the body produces insulin but doesn't use it in the right way. This is called type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset diabetes. It is most common in people over the age of 40. Type 2 diabetes is linked to:
 
  • Obesity
  • Lack of activity
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Family background.
     
African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, and some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at high risk for type 2 diabetes.
 
There is also a condition called pre-diabetes in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. This condition raises the risk of:
 
People with pre-diabetes can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes by losing weight and being more active.
 

Health Concerns Related to Type 2 Diabetes

Blood glucose levels that are either very high or very low can lead to serious medical problems, even emergencies. In addition to the health problems noted above, people with type 2 diabetes can go into a coma (become unconscious) if their blood glucose levels get too high. Low blood glucose (called hypoglycemia) can also cause problems if it's untreated. Usually, hypoglycemia is mild and can easily be treated by eating or drinking something high in carbohydrates, such as:
 
  • Bread
  • Fruit
  • Potatoes
  • Milk.
     
Left untreated, however, hypoglycemia can lead to a loss of consciousness. Although hypoglycemia can occur suddenly, it can usually be treated quickly, bringing the person's blood glucose level back to normal.
 
Researchers recently have found that people with type 2 diabetes also have an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease. Studies are under way to understand this connection and to see whether strict control of glucose can delay or prevent this problem.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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