Preventing Prediabetes and Diabetes

By Bob Greene,

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The Different Types of Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes
is usually caused by an autoimmune condition that affects the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas (called beta cells). It can also be caused by severe pancreatitis or removal of the pancreas. People with type 1 must take insulin because the body produces little to none. About five to 10 percent of all diabetes cases are type 1.

Prediabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar levels are elevated above normal, but aren't high enough to meet the criteria for diabetes. (Normal blood sugar is under 100 mg/dL; prediabetes is a blood sugar between 100 and 125; diabetes is a blood sugar of 126 or higher.) People with prediabetes usually produce enough insulin, but the body does not respond to the hormone as well as it should (a condition called insulin resistance, which has been linked to obesity and abdominal fat). In fact, people with prediabetes often produce very high levels of insulin--that's what it takes to combat the insulin resistance and get glucose (fuel used for energy) into cells. The condition doesn't always progress to type 2 diabetes--lifestyle changes can reverse the condition.

Type 2 diabetes is, many times, simply a worsening of prediabetes. As with prediabetes, a person with type 2 may have a lot of insulin circulating in their bloodstream, but his insulin resistance has worsened to the point where even high levels of the hormone can't get enough glucose into cells. And after a while, insulin production itself may diminish--one theory is that the pancreas simply wears out from years of manufacturing the hormone at such a high rate. Type 2 accounts for about 90 to 95 percent of all diabetes cases.

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that women can develop when they're pregnant. It usually develops in the second half of pregnancy (doctors typically test for it around the 22nd week of pregnancy), and can put your health as well as the health of the fetus at risk.

From, used with permission For more information, check out The Best Life Guide to Managing Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes or

Article written by Bob Greene
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