What types of diabetes are there?

Type 1 / type 2 / type 3 / gestational diabetes

Cause and therapy are very different depending on the type


Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes usually occurs in youth or childhood. The cause is considered to be damage to the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas due to a combination of hereditary factors, viral infections and other as yet unexplained harmful causes of the disease. Insulin is no longer produced at all (absolute insulin deficiency), which is why a daily insulin supply is vital and a conscious diet and physical activity are important.


Metabolic syndrome
Before type 2 diabetes becomes manifest through derailment of blood sugar, i.e. through greatly increased blood sugar levels, a preliminary stage usually exists for a long time. In most cases, the so-called metabolic syndrome also occurs at the same time. It is characterized by obesity, elevated blood lipid levels, high blood pressure and insulin resistance.

Type 2 diabetes  
Type 2 diabetes usually occurs after the age of 40. However, due to the changing lifestyles in the industrial nations (overweight and lack of exercise), younger people are also increasingly affected (already in their youth). The most important risk factors are hereditary predisposition and overweight. A lack of effect of their own insulin (insulin resistance) leads to increased insulin production (hyperinsulinemia), which in turn leads to excessive demands on the b cells and their premature exhaustion (relative insulin deficit).  


Type 3 diabetes
Diabetes type 3, or other rare specific types of diabetes, includes several special forms of diabetes. There can be various causes for this type, such as genetic defects in beta cells (MODY), genetic defects in the action of insulin, diseases of the pancreas, diseases/disturbances of the hormonal system, drugs or chemicals, viruses, autoimmune diseases, genetic syndromes.


Gestational diabetes
Is a diabetic metabolic disorder caused by reduced insulin action during pregnancy. There is an increased risk for women over 25 years of age and first-degree relatives with diabetes. However, normal blood sugar levels are extremely important for the development of the child. After pregnancy, normal blood sugar levels return. However, there is an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.  

Secondary diabetes  
Occurs as a consequence of serious diseases of the pancreas, glandular diseases (e.g. hyperthyroidism) and medication (e.g. cortisone).