A NIDDK Overview of Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes continued...
Someone with type 1 diabetes needs daily
injections of insulin to live. At present, scientists do not know exactly what
causes the body's immune system to attack the beta cells, but they believe that
both genetic factors and viruses are involved. Type 1 diabetes accounts for
about 5 to 10 percent of diagnosed diabetes in the United States.
Type 1 diabetes develops most often in
children and young adults, but the disorder can appear at any age. Symptoms of
type 1 diabetes usually develop over a short period, although beta cell
destruction can begin years earlier.
Symptoms include increased thirst and
urination, constant hunger, weight loss, blurred vision, and extreme tiredness.
If not diagnosed and treated with insulin, a person can lapse into a
Type 2 Diabetes
The most common form of diabetes is type 2
diabetes (once known as noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or NIDDM). About
90 to 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. This form of
diabetes usually develops in adults over the age of 40 and is most common among
adults over age 55. About 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are
In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas usually
produces insulin, but for some reason, the body cannot use the insulin
effectively. The end result is the same as for type 1 diabetes -- an unhealthy
buildup of glucose in the blood and an inability of the body to make efficient
use of its main source of fuel.
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes develop
gradually and are not as noticeable as in type 1 diabetes. Symptoms include
feeling tired or ill, frequent urination (especially at night), unusual thirst,
weight loss, blurred vision, frequent infections, and slow healing of
Gestational diabetes develops or is
discovered during pregnancy. This type usually disappears when the pregnancy is
over, but women who have had gestational diabetes have a greater risk of
developing type 2 diabetes later in their lives.
What Is the Scope and Impact of Diabetes?
Diabetes is widely recognized as one of the
leading causes of death and disability in the United States. According to death
certificate data, diabetes contributed to the deaths of more than 193,140
persons in 1996.