If you randomly met and invited over 10 new friends for a dinner party, chances are that at least one of them would have some form of diabetes. Indeed, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), 11.6% of the American population (38.4 million people in total) live with diabetes, and more than 1.2 million Americans are diagnosed with some form of the condition every single year. Even if you don’t have diabetes yourself, you almost certainly know one or more people who do. But how much awareness do you really possess about this disease?

Below, we’ve compiled an overview of the types of diabetes, as well as the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for it, and provided some actionable tips for preventing the disease. If you suspect that you may have diabetes or are seeking more in-depth information, it is essential to contact your doctor or healthcare provider directly.

Key Takeaways

  • Diabetes mellitus is a common condition that can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. It is characterized by chronic high blood sugar levels resulting from a lack of insulin production and/or the inability of the body to respond normally to insulin (known as insulin resistance).
  • Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, but there are also many other types of the disease, including Type 1 diabetes, Gestational diabetes, Type 3c diabetes, Maturity-onset diabetes, and more.
  • The causes of various types of diabetes range from insulin resistance to autoimmune disease, hormonal imbalances, pancreatic damage, and genetic mutations. Management of the disease often involves a combination of medication(s) and lifestyle interventions.
  • The best way to prevent diabetes is by maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.
  • Speak with your doctor for more information about diabetes and/or to receive a diagnosis.

Diabetes Overview

Diabetes (formally known as diabetes mellitus) is a common condition characterized by chronic high blood sugar levels.

In a typical body, carbohydrates break down into sugars during digestion and enter the bloodstream, where they are absorbed into the body’s cells and metabolized into energy. Insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas, is the key to this process. It “unlocks” cells so that they can effectively take in and process sugars.

In a person with diabetes, carbohydrates still break down into sugars and enter the bloodstream, raising blood sugar levels. However, the body’s cells cannot absorb and process these sugars effectively, usually occurring for one of two reasons:

  • The pancreas isn’t producing enough insulin (or any insulin, in some cases)


  • the body’s cells aren’t responding properly to insulin (known as insulin resistance).

When sugars aren’t absorbed into the body’s cells as they should be, blood sugar levels remain higher than normal and the body is unable to effectively produce the energy it needs.

In most cases, diabetes is a chronic, lifelong condition. While it can have far-reaching implications for the overall health of people who have it, it’s also highly manageable. With proper attention and treatment, people with diabetes can live long, active, and healthy lives.

What Are the Different Types of Diabetes?

All forms of diabetes mellitus share specific characteristics, but there are also some fundamental differences between them. What are the types of diabetes? Below, we’ve put together a brief guide:

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. It is often diagnosed in childhood or early adulthood but can occur at any age. The exact cause of Type 1 diabetes remains unknown.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common type of diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 90% of people with diabetes suffer from this form of the disease. Type 2 diabetes develops over time and is caused by a lack of insulin production and/or insulin resistance. It is most common in adults but can also affect children and teens. Type 2 diabetes is frequently associated with obesity, hormonal imbalances, and/or a diet high in sugars and unhealthy fats.


Prediabetes refers to the stage before Type 2 diabetes. People who are prediabetic have higher blood sugar levels than average but are not yet officially considered to be diabetic. If not managed and treated properly, prediabetes commonly evolves into Type 2 diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that develops in some pregnant women. It is highly manageable with diet, exercise, and/or medication and typically disappears once the baby is born. That being said, women who develop Gestational diabetes are also more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life.

Type 3c Diabetes

Type 3c diabetes develops when damage occurs to the pancreas. Such damage could be caused by a previous disease or condition (e.g., pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, cystic fibrosis) or could be the result of an accident or injury. People who have had part or all of their pancreas removed may also suffer from Type 3c diabetes.

Maturity-Onset Diabetes

Maturity-onset diabetes (MODY) is a hereditary form of diabetes. Also known as monogenic diabetes, it results from a genetic mutation that can be passed down through families. MODY is relatively rare, affecting only a small percentage of all Americans with diabetes.

Neonatal Diabetes

Neonatal diabetes is a form of monogenic diabetes that develops in infants. For some babies, the condition is transient and may disappear later in life. For others, it will be a lifelong condition.

Brittle Diabetes

Also known as unstable diabetes, Brittle diabetes is a form of diabetes characterized by severe blood sugar swings (high blood sugar and low blood sugar). It is challenging to control, and in severe cases, patients may benefit from a pancreas transplant.

See also: The Three P’s of Diabetes

Common Causes of Diabetes

Diabetes occurs when insulin isn’t produced or processed properly in the body. But what are the disease’s underlying causes? It turns out that the causes of diabetes vary depending on the type of diabetes in question. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Insulin Resistance – Insulin resistance is one of the main causes of Type 2 diabetes. It is often associated with obesity, lack of exercise, and a poorly balanced diet, as well as with certain medications.
  • Autoimmune Reaction – Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction that causes damage to the pancreas cells responsible for producing insulin.
  • Pancreatic Disease or Damage – Type 3c diabetes occurs when the pancreas is physically diseased or damaged.
  • Genetics – Certain forms of diabetes can be inherited (MODY).
  • Hormones – Hormonal imbalances during pregnancy can lead to Gestational diabetes. In some cases, hormonal imbalances can also cause diabetes to develop in people who are not pregnant.

Symptoms of Diabetes

In addition to high blood glucose levels, common symptoms of diabetes may include:

  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin
  • Slow healing sores
  • Increased susceptibility to infections

If you are experiencing one or more of the above symptoms, it is important to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider.

Managing and Treating Diabetes

Diabetes is a highly manageable condition, but its treatment varies greatly from patient to patient. Treatment plans must be strategically developed on an individual basis and take into consideration a wide variety of different factors, including the type of diabetes being treated and the unique characteristics of the patient in question.

That being said, effective treatment plans for diabetes nearly always include some or all of the following components:

  • Ongoing Monitoring of Blood Sugar – Monitoring blood sugar levels is the most common way to gather information about whether or not a treatment plan is working. Patients may monitor their blood sugar levels once or more each day and manage their treatment accordingly.
  • Insulin and Other Medications – Diabetes is often treated with insulin but may also respond to other types of antidiabetic medication, depending on the circumstances.
  • Lifestyle Changes – Maintaining a healthy weight, staying active, and eating a carefully balanced diet are also key components in successfully managing diabetes.

Diabetes Prevention

While it’s not always possible to prevent diabetes (especially autoimmune and inherited types), there are certain steps you can take to lower your risk of developing the disease. These include:

  • Prioritize physical activity
  • Eat a balanced diet low in carbohydrates
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Reduce stress
  • Manage other health problems as recommended by your doctor

If you believe you are at risk of developing diabetes, it is essential to be especially proactive in caring for your overall health.


To conclude, diabetes is a common condition that can affect Americans of all ages and backgrounds. Though all forms of diabetes are caused by chronic high blood sugar, there are several distinct types of the disease.

Proper treatment and management are critical to maintaining good health and a high-level quality of life while living with diabetes, and accessing affordable, high-quality antidiabetic medications is one important piece of the puzzle.

At Bisonpharmacy.com, we specialize in shipping life-saving medications like insulin, Ozempic, and Mounjaro to Americans at a fraction of the cost they’d pay at their local pharmacy. To learn more about ordering medications from Bisonpharmacy.com, contact us directly today!

About the Author

Ida Edlweiss Gumpal is a licensed Pharmacist and medical writer. She took her internships at Mercury Drug Corporation, Inc., a Hospital internship at De Vera Medical Center, Inc., and a Manufacturing internship at Philmed Laboratories, Inc. She has plans on attending medical school with the goal of specializing in Neurosurgery or Cardiothoracic surgery.