Updated 12 November 2015

Are there different types of diabetes?

There are three main types of diabetes, namely type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes - these are the differences between the three.


Yes, there are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

With type 1 diabetes, the β cells in the pancreas gradually stop producing insulin. This means that the body no longer has enough available insulin to properly control glucose levels in the blood.

Treating type 1 diabetes requires insulin to be given, usually by injection or insulin pump, to properly regulate blood glucose.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common type of diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, the body produces insulin but it does not utilise it effectively. This means that glucose isn't properly absorbed into the cells and accumulates in the blood instead causes raised blood glucose levels.

Treating type 2 diabetes involves medications that improve insulin absorption as well as lifestyle changes including a healthy diet and exercise regime.

Gestational diabetes

There is also a third type, namely gestational diabetes, which sometimes affects pregnant women, especially if they have experienced significant weight gain.

Treating gestational diabetes effectively is important to prevent pregnancy complications.

These symptoms often recede after the birth of the baby, but gestational diabetes is a warning that type 2 diabetes could very well develop later.

Women who have had gestational diabetes need to pay very careful attention to their diet and exercise routine in order to avoid diabetes later in life.

Read more:

Symptoms of diabetes

Causes of diabetes

Diagnosing diabetes


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Dr. May currently works as a fulltime endocrinologist and has been in private practice since 2004. He has a variety of interests, predominantly obesity and diabetes, but also sees patients with osteoporosis, thyroid disorders, men's health disorders, pituitary and adrenal disorders, polycystic ovaries, and disorders of growth. He is a leading member of several obesity and diabetes societies and runs a trial centre for new drugs.

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