There are two types of diabetes:
Previously known as juvenile onset diabetes, this type occurs when the pancreas makes little or no insulin. The body's own immune system may attack the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Most often seen in children and young adults, Type-1 diabetes is treated with daily insulin injections and careful meal planning. Regular exercise is also important in controlling the disease.
Almost at the epidemic stage, type 2 accounts for more than 90% of all cases. In this adult disorder, the body becomes unable to make enough insulin or to use it properly. Treatment involves medications (insulin and other drugs), careful eating and exercise.
During pregnancy, some women experience gestational diabetes. Pregnancy hormones tend to make the body resist insulin. This type of diabetes usually goes away soon after the baby is born. Later in life, women who experience gestational diabetes may become diabetic.
While the exact cause of diabetes is not yet known, Americans' inactive lifestyle and regular diet of fats, salt and sugar account for a large portion of the worrisome rise in the number of diabetic patients. Persons at risk also include those over age 45, overweight individuals and certain ethnic groups (African American, Latino and Native American).