Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented but it can be managed through a combination of medication, healthy food choices and exercise. Contrary to popular belief, having too much sugar in your diet does not not cause Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and is also known as juvenile diabetes. However, there are some cases where adults develop this type of diabetes.

With type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. The body breaks down the sugars and starches you eat into a simple sugar called glucose, which it uses for energy. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. With type 1 insulin injections/treatment must administered for the rest of the individual's life in order to stay alive.

Type 2 Diabetes

In type 2 diabetes, either the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the cells in the body don’t recognise the insulin that is present. The end result is the same: high levels of glucose in your blood. For many people (but not all) type 2 diabetes can be prevented by making healthy food choices and staying active.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs when a pregnant woman has high levels of glucose in her blood. High blood glucose is caused because the mother can’t produce enough insulin (a pregnant woman’s insulin needs are two to three times that of normal).

There are two reasons why the mother needs more insulin:

  • Because pregnancy causes certain types of hormones (that are made by the placenta) to be released. These hormones make it harder for insulin to do its job
  • Because the growth demands of the foetus (developing baby) increases the mother's need for insulin

Unlike type 1 and type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes is only temporary and usually disappears after pregnancy. However, a woman who has had gestational diabetes has an increased risk (50-60%) of developing type 2 diabetes in the future; therefore they should be tested for type 2 diabetes each year.