Type 1 (juvenile)
Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, but is most commonly diagnosed from infancy to the late 30s. With this type of diabetes, a person’s pancreas produces no insulin. It occurs when the body’s own defence system (the immune system) attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, although what causes the immune system to do this is not entirely known. People with type 1 diabetes must inject insulin several times every day.
Type 2 (adult-onset)
Type 2 diabetes typically develops after age 40, but can appear earlier. With this type of diabetes, the pancreas still produces insulin but not enough, or the body is not able to use it effectively. Treatment includes diet control, exercise, self-monitoring of blood glucose and, in some cases, oral drugs or insulin.
Between two and five percent of pregnant women develop high blood sugar during pregnancy. Although this type of diabetes usually disappears after the birth of the baby, women who have had gestational diabetes are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.