What is Diabetes?

Glucose is vital to your health because it’s an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It is also your brain's main source of fuel.

Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). It leads to high blood sugar levels due to decreased insulin secretion or insulin resistance, lasting a lifetime.1

The underlying cause of diabetes varies by type. However, no matter what type of diabetes you have, it can lead to excess sugar in your blood. Too much sugar in your blood can lead to serious health problems.

Types of Diabetes



Type 1 Diabetes2

Diabetes develops due to autoimmune reaction of body i.e. body’s immune system destroys pancreatic beta cells, responsible for producing insulin. If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to take insulin injections for life. You must also make sure that your blood glucose levels stay balanced by eating a healthy diet.

Type 1 diabetes is far less common than type 2 diabetes. Individuals with type 1 diabetes make up only 5% of all people with diabetes. Risk factors associated with type 1 diabetes may be immunological, genetic or environmental.2



Type 2 Diabetes2

This condition usually begins as insulin resistance, a disorder in which the cells do not use insulin properly. As the need for insulin increases, the pancreas gradually loses its ability to produce insulin. If you have type 2 diabetes, you may be able to control your symptoms by eating a healthy diet and monitoring your blood glucose levels. However, since type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition, you may eventually need to take medication, usually tablets or injections.

Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1 diabetes. As indicated earlier, type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce any insulin at all. Around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.



Gestational Diabetes2

It is a form of glucose intolerance diagnosed during pregnancy.2 It is more common in obese women and in women with a family history of diabetes.

Gestational diabetes requires treatment to optimise maternal blood glucose levels to reduce the risk of complications in the infant. Other types of diabetes result from specific genetic conditions (such as maturity-onset diabetes of young), surgery, medications, infections, pancreatic disease and other illnesses.



1. Taber’s Medical Dictionary. http://www.tabers.com/tabersonline/view/Tabers-Dictionary/756187/0/paresthesia?q=parestheiae. Accessed 17 November, 2019.

2. Courten M. Classification of diabetes. In: Williams R, Herman W, Kinmonth AL, Wareham N, eds. The Evidence Base for Diabetes Care. 1st ed. Chichester, UK: Wiley, 2002:16.