We mainly hear about type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but there are actually more than just those two types.
Diabetes can be caused by various factors, such as genetics or environmental factors, and it can affect any age group from children to adults.
There are many different forms of diabetes with varying symptoms depending on the type of diabetes you have been diagnosed with.
We’ll talk about 10 different types of diabetes and discuss their causes, symptoms and treatments so you can better understand how they happen and what symptoms to look for.
How many different types of diabetes are there?
There are at least 10 recognized diabetes types, all caused by different factors.
Prediabetes: Prediabetes is when you’re diagnosed with the condition even before it has progressed to diabetes. Typically your A1C – or 3 month average glucose – is borderline high.
With prediabetes, you doctor can work with you on preventative measures – like changing your diet and increasing your daily activity – to help you manage blood sugars before the disease progresses to Type 2 Diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes: This form of diabetes occurs when the body does not produce insulin and it can be caused by genetics, viruses or environmental factors.
This type of diabetes is recognized as an autoimmune condition since the immune system attacks the body’s insulin-producing beta cells.
Type 2 Diabetes: Type 2 is the most common cause of adult onset diabetes, usually starting in adulthood, but it can begin in childhood.
Type 2 diabetes is due to insulin resistance. The body produces insulin, but doesn’t use it effectively.
People with type 2 often manage diabetes with diet, exercise, oral medications, injectable medications and/or insulin.
Type 3c diabetes: Type 3c diabetes is also called pancreatogenic diabetes mellitus of the disease and it only affects adults.
Type 3c is caused by a few different things: Pancreatitis, or chronic inflammation of the pancreas, removal of the pancreas, Cystic Fibrosis, or Hemochromatosis – or excessive iron.
Alström Syndrome: Alström Syndrome is rare and affects hearing, vision, heart functions and the ability to use insulin efficiently.
It’s also caused by a genetic mutation. People with the condition If you have it, your body makes little or no insulin at all and can’t make enough to control the sugar in your blood.
Gestational diabetes: This is diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and usually resolves after the baby is born.
Mothers who have gestational diabetes, do have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes after pregnancy.
Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA): LADA affects mostly adults, but it can happen at any age.
It’s likely to develop slowly over a period of years, and is often misdiagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Over time, your immune system attacks your beta cells, and lessens your insulin function over time.
Patients suspected to have LADA are often also given a c-peptide test, which measures the body’s insulin production. Low insulin production is also a marker for LADA.
Mature Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY): MODY primarily affects people who are young. MODY is caused by a genetic mutation, and has no prevention, or cure.
Neonatal diabetes: Neonatal diabetes happens when the body can’t make insulin at birth.
It is diagnosed in children under 6 months of age, but can be misdiagnosed at type 1 diabetes.
Neonatal diabetes is a monogenic form of diabetes.
Steroid-induced diabetes: Steroids are medications that help people who have asthma breathe more easily by shrinking airways around their lungs.
But one side effect of the medication is that it raises blood glucose.
Steroids can induce diabetes by raising blood glucose beyond normal levels.
Steroid induced diabetes can be a transient condition, and resolve by stopping the use of steroids. Other times, a patient will manage by supplementing medications that regulate blood glucose.
Diabetes treatment options
Diabetes treatments are not one size fits all, and work best when it is managed with a healthcare provider.
Different types of diabetes require different types of treatment, which are usually individualized to the patient.
You should always talk to your doctor about what treatment options will be right for you.
Diabetes isn’t just type 1 and type 2
Diabetes is not the same for everyone and it’s a very complicated disease.
It’s important to know about all types of diabetes and how they affect people differently, so you can make an informed decision when it comes time to talk with your doctor about what type of treatment might be best for you.
Knowing there are more types of diabetes also helps us understand the complexities of the disease, and advocate for people with all types of diabetes.
More diabetes articles to read
- Risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes
- Why increasing medications in diabetes treatment doesn’t mean failure.
- 39 snack ideas for people with diabetes
- What to eat when you have diabetes
- Replacing rice in a diabetes diet
- 50 foods for people with diabetes and why they’re good for you
- What are normal blood sugars for people with diabetes?