Diabetes is a common chronic medical condition caused by increased blood sugar (glucose) levels. There are two types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes, also known as “juvenile” or “insulin-dependent” diabetes, occurs when the pancreas, the organ that processes glucose, does not produce enough insulin, the hormone that helps metabolize glucose. Type 1 diabetes is most often diagnosed in childhood or early adulthood and requires insulin treatment throughout life.
Type 2 diabetes is also called “adult-onset” diabetes; yet, type 2 diabetes is becoming more common in children and is correlated with increasing rates of childhood obesity. A person with type 2 diabetes becomes insulin resistant or produces insulin, but is not able to appropriately metabolize glucose.1
Obesity and physical inactivity are the most common causes of type 2 diabetes. Other risk factors include impaired glucose metabolism, history of gestational diabetes, older age and race/ethnicity. Individuals with a family history of type 2 diabetes are also more likely to develop the disease than those without.2 Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95 percent of US diabetes cases.3
Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes is caused by autoimmune, genetic and environmental factors. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults and requires life-long management of the disease.
1 Torpy J et. al. JAMA, April 15, 2009 – Vol 301, No. 15
2 Torpy J et. al. JAMA, April 15, 2009 – Vol 301, No. 15
3 Center for Disease Control estimates http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/general.htm#what
Diabetes is a growing public health epidemic affecting nearly 26 million Americans, and according to the American Diabetes Association, 1.9 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in people aged 20 years and older each year.2