Diabetes is one of the most common disorders of the endocrine system and is caused by consistently elevated levels of blood sugar. There are 3 different types of diabetes, and all are caused by issues with the way the body produces or uses insulin, the hormone that helps cells convert glucose (blood sugar) into energy.
Type I Diabetes, also called insulin-dependent diabetes, often develops during childhood and is an autoimmune disorder, caused by the body attacking its own pancreas, rendering it incapable of making the insulin the body needs.
Type II Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and is caused by the body either not producing enough insulin, or the body’s cells resisting or rejecting the insulin created by the pancreas. Obesity (more than 20% over the ideal weight for a person’s height) is a leading cause of Type II Diabetes, as obesity causes insulin resistance, forcing the pancreas to work increasingly harder to create enough insulin for the body’s needs.
Gestational Diabetes is triggered by pregnancy and the accompanying hormonal changes that can trigger insulin resistance in the mother’s body. Gestational diabetes can be a serious issue, with significant risks to the mother and especially to the unborn child. Gestational diabetes typically disappears following pregnancy, although mothers with gestational diabetes have increased the risk of developing Type II Diabetes later in life.