22 Nov The difference between Insulin Resistance, Prediabetes and Diabetes.
The number of people living with diabetes worldwide has more than double over the past 20 years and is now referred to as the challenge of the 21st century (Zimmet, P., 2017). In this article, we aim to provide some information into the different types of diabetes; Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational, shedding some light into what the condition does to your body and how insulin resistance and prediabetes both play a significant role when looking at the topic of diabetes.
When someone has diabetes, their body can’t maintain healthy levels of glucose in the blood. Glucose is a form of sugar that is a crucial source of energy. Unhealthy levels of glucose can lead to significant long and short-term health conditions. To process sugar, our bodies naturally produce a hormone called insulin which is essential for the conversion of glucose into energy. In people with diabetes, insulin is not produced by the body or insufficient amounts are produced.
According to Diabetes Australia, an Australian is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes every 5 minutes. However, what is the difference between Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational? We share a brief guide below:
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body naturally does not produce insulin. Type 1 is not associated with modifiable lifestyle factors such as weight, diet and activity levels and can often be linked to family history. For someone living with Type 1, it is crucial to monitor insulin levels closely and is often managed through the use of insulin injections or a pump.
Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes can often be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices. Type 2 diabetes represents approximately 85-90% of cases of diabetes within Australia. There are multiple factors such as activity levels, weight, diet and family history that contribute to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In Australia, we use a risk assessment tool (AUSDRISK) which comprises of a short list of questions to help both health professionals and consumers to assess the risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the next five years. Australian SiSU Health Stations use this algorithm to determine your AUSDRISK score in your results.
This is a form of diabetes that occurs in women during pregnancy. There are multiple factors that contribute to an increased risk of developing the condition such as age, background, existing health conditions and more. In many cases, blood glucose levels return to normal after the birth of the child, however, it can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. This particular type can develop due to hormones produced during pregnancy to help the baby develop, in some cases these hormones block the production of insulin, resulting in insulin resistance.
Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes
Insulin resistance is defined as an impaired response of the body to insulin, resulting in elevated levels of glucose in the blood. Due to this, the pancreas makes more insulin. Prediabetes usually occurs in people who already have some insulin resistance or are unable to make enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels within a normal range (NIH,2019). Without enough insulin, extra glucose stays in your bloodstream rather than entering your cells and over time increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Although some types such as type 1, cannot be prevented, there are a few things that you can do to prevent or delay the condition. Below are some things you can do to help reduce your risk:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Regular physical activity
- Making healthy food choices
- Managing blood pressure
- Managing cholesterol levels
- Not smoking.
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Zimmet, P., 2017. Diabetes and its drivers: the largest epidemic in human history? Clinical diabetes and endocrinology, 3(1), p.1.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH), 2019. Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes.