USF Diabetes Center
USF Health

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a complicated disease. It has a variety of forms:  Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, Gestational diabetes, MODY, LADA and Double diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the body can’t make insulin.  The immune system mistakenly attacks the cells in the pancreas that make and release insulin preventing the body from functioning properly.  People with this form of diabetes require insulin infusion either with shots or through an insulin pump.

Type 2 Diabetes

With type 2 diabetes, high levels of sugar build up in the blood.  Typically with this form of diabetes, the body still makes insulin, it just doesn’t make enough or doesn’t properly use the insulin it makes. People with this form of diabetes utilize a variety of therapies.  Typically people begin with lifestyle modification and then move to oral medication and eventually to insulin.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy for about 4% of women or about 135,000 pregnant women each year (American Diabetes Association).  This form of diabetes is most closely tied to insulin resistance.  The pregnant woman is still making insulin, but the hormones from the placenta are blocking the woman’s insulin in her body. Women who get gestational diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

MODY (Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young) 

MODY acts like a very mild version of type 1 diabetes, with continued partial insulin production and normal insulin sensitivity. 

LADA

(Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults or Type 1.5)
This is a form of type 1 diabetes which is diagnosed in individuals who are older than the usual age of onset of type 1 diabetes.  It is frequently confused with type 2 diabetes.

Double Diabetes

This is when a person has elements of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.  This happens when a person with type 1 diabetes becomes overweight and develops insulin resistance or when a person with type 2 diabetes has the presence of antibodies in the blood causing the a decrease in the body’s ability to produce insulin.