There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes is sometimes called insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes. Most people think only kids can get type 1 diabetes (which is why it got the nickname "juvenile", meaning "young"), but a person can get type 1 diabetes at any age. Still, it's true that most people get diagnosed with type 1 diabetes some time between birth and their late 30s. With type 1 diabetes, a person's pancreas either produces very little insulin or none at all. So people with this type of diabetes must inject or pump insulin two or three times or more every day to make up for what the body can't do. Knowing just how much insulin the body needs at a particular time is very, very tricky. For this reason, the blood sugar of a person with type 1 diabetes can be either too high or too low a lot of the time.
Type 1 diabetes is a type of autoimmune disease. This means that the body's system for attacking and fighting off infections, called its immune system, is attacking a part of the body itself. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks certain cells in the pancreas called beta cells. If you guessed that these beta cells are the ones that produce insulin, you're absolutely right!
About 5 to 10 percent of people who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. Being extremely thirsty or hungry over a long period of time, having to urinate more often than usual, losing a lot of weight without trying to, having blurry vision, and being extremely tired over a long period of time may all be symptoms of type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In this type of diabetes, the pancreas still produces insulin, but it does not produce enough or it has trouble using it. Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adults over 35 years old, and especially in those who are overweight. But recently type 2 diabetes has begun to appear more in children and teenagers, as more and more of them are becoming overweight.
Type 2 diabetes is generally connected to with older age, obesity (being overweight), a history of diabetes in the family, having had gestational diabetes (see below), and lack of physical exercise. It also seems to be tied to race or ethnicity. People who are African American, Hispanic or Latino American, Native American, and members of some groups of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
About 90 to 95 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes have type 2. The symptoms can include extreme tiredness, being unusually hungry or thirsty, losing weight suddenly, urinating more often than normal, blurry vision, and sores or infections that take a long time to heal. These symptoms can come on gradually, or there may not be any symptoms at all. Usually, type 2 diabetes can be controlled by losing weight, improving nutrition and increasing exercising. But many people may need to take medication by mouth or inject or pump insulin (or sometimes both) to control the disease.