Diabetes – so what are Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, Type 1.5 and gestational diabetes? (and pre-diabetes as well)

Doctor Max Pemberton
Doctor Max Pemberton

One of the big confusions, for a lot of people, is what are the different types of diabetes. In fact a lot of people have never heard of type 1.5 and type 3 diabetes. So we though we would ask Dr Max Pemberton who is an expert in this field!

He told us “I think this causes people a lot of confusion. There’s three main ones – Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes and they’re all quite different. Type 1 diabetes is caused by an immune response whereby the body creates antibodies to the cells that make insulin in the pancreas, and it destroys those cells. So people with Type 1 diabetes no longer have the cells that make insulin, and so therefore they have low or no insulin in their blood.

Type 2 is quite different and that’s where the cells in the body have become resistant to the effects of insulin, so their body still makes insulin but the cells aren’t responding to it in the way that they should.

Now, gestational diabetes, that refers to a condition where women who are pregnant can sometimes develop diabetes and it’s just for the time that they are carrying a baby. So when they then give birth the majority of them, the diabetes then sort of passes. It’s really a response to being pregnant and the physical and hormonal changes that take place. People with gestational diabetes are at risk in the future of possibility developing diabetes but it is one of those things at the time, it then does go.

Now there’s these other terms that you mention, 1.5 and Type 3 and to be honest these complicate matters a bit. So all that 1.5 means really, it used to be thought that Type 1 diabetes affected people when they were very, very young and that’s when they first got diagnosed with it, and Type 2 was a result of lifestyle like being obese and so on, and that tended to happen when people were much older. Actually what they realised, that there is a group of people who despite might be relatively normal weight, they don’t have high cholesterol and so on and so on, so relatively physically healthy and yet still it’s often in their 40s or so they develop diabetes. So it’s not clear if it’s because of lifestyle changes, and it’s got a component probably of auto immune to it but it’s just presented much later, so it sits in-between Type 1 and Type 2 so they call it Type 1.2. To be honest I don’t think it is particularly helpful, I think it just confuses people.

Type 3 again I find it a slightly confusing term. It’s used by researchers just to talk about the evidence that shows that in some types of Alzheimer’s, the brain has become resistant to the effects of insulin. It’s just purely one of those scientific anomalies no one really quite understands quite what this means or the implications for either Alzheimer’s or indeed diabetes, but it’s one of these things you hear very occasional, sort of banded around usually within academic circles. It’s not something to worry about. Personally I definitely don’t think about Type 3 diabetes. The main three don’t forget are Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes. ”

We also asked for a definition of pre-diabetes.  Max told up “Although there are three main types of diabetes, there’s also a stage before diabetes and that’s called pre-diabetes. It’s noticed impaired glucose tolerance and it’s a condition where your blood “

Incidence and Prevalence of Diabetes Across the World


Check out this great infographic about the prevalence and incidence of diabetes across the globe?

Which country has the most diabetics?

What is the difference between Type-1 diabetes and Type-2 diabetes.


Diabetes blog – diet and exercise as a treatment for Diabetes


exerciseWelcome to our latest discussion blog on diabetes.  In this blog we are looking at how people with Type 2 Diabetes can use diet and exercise to keep their condition under control.

As with all of our blogs of this type we need your help.  The objective of this diabetes blog is to allow people with diabetes or their loved ones to share top tips regarding diet and exercise for people with diabetes.  In this blog we are focusing on Type Two Diabetes but will look more closely at Type One Diabetes at a later date.

With the increase in prevalence of diabetes throughout the world more attention is being paid to both prevention and non-medication based treatments of Type 2 Diabetes.

Diabetes UK (http://www.diabetes.co.uk/exercise-for-diabetics.html) has some excellent suggestions as to diet and exercise for diabetics and we strongly recommend that you pay their web site a visit.

Looking at their advice there are two key points worth mentioning:-

a)      Three square meals a day – (don’t skip).  Remember breakfast is an important meal!

b)      It is certainly worth consulting a dietician.  As with many medical conditions there really is no such thing as “one size fits all” so getting tailor made advice about diet is pretty important.

Overall the recommendations are, as with many diets, to focus on overall health eating.  Typically aVegtables low glycaemic diet is recommended.  This is a diet where weight loss is achieved by control of blood sugars.  That is making sure that blood sugars do not “spike” during the day.  This is achieved by eating food which has a low glycaemic index i.e. slow release.  The sorts of foods that are low GI include whole grains, beans and lentils, pasta, fruit and sweet corn.

My wife (while not a diabetic) has used a low GI diet with great success to lose weight.  You can check out some recipes here – http://www.awtonline.co.uk/a-z_recipes.php.

In terms of exercise it is important to note that it does improve insulin resistance if carried out on a regular basis.  For Type 2 adults it has been suggested that 30 minutes five times a week is a minimum required.  Even a short break from exercise (say 10 days) can lead to you losing any metabolic benefits.  It is important to choose exercise which is sustainable such as walking or maybe cycling to work.

As we said earlier the objective of this diabetes blog is to allow you to share your experience of tacking diabetes type 2 with diet and exercise.  You might like to consider the following questions:-

1)      How long ago were you diagnosed with diabetes?

2)      How easy as it to find an exercise regime which suited you?  What was that regimes?

3)      What diet do you now follow?  Has it been effective in keeping your diabetes in check?

4)      Where do you go for suitable diabetes recipes?

5)      Have you had to add medication to your diabetes treatment?  If so which ones?

Please feel free to use the comments box below to add your thoughts and diabetes experiences.  Feel free to share any links which you have found useful in the past.

Many thanks in advance.