Common Types of Diabetes

Type 1

Develops when the body is unable to produce any insulin. People living with type 1 diabetes will need insulin injections for life. They are insulin dependent. Symptoms of this type of diabetes are usually sudden onset over a period of days, weeks and in some cases (rarely) months1Diabetes NHS (2022) accessible from:

Type 2

Develops when the body still makes insulin but it doesn’t make enough and it doesn’t work properly. Symptoms may not be associated with diabetes and so may go undiagnosed for many years2NHS Inform (2022) accessible from Type 2 diabetes is usually treated with lifestyle changes; tablets; injectable medication which is not insulin and/or insulin. If someone diagnosed with type 2 diabetes needs insulin therapy they are still classed as having type 2 diabetes but they are insulin requiring3Diabetes NHS (2022) accessible from:

Other types of diabetes include:

Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA).

Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults is a slow-progressing form of autoimmune type 1 diabetes. However, unlike type 1 diabetes, they may not need insulin for several months, up to a few years after diagnosis. Initially, people with LADA are often misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes, because the pancreas still produces some insulin. Signs to look out for if suspecting someone with LADA are: a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes slim build.

Maturity Onset Diabetes in the Young (MODY).

This is caused by a mutation in a single gene. The key features of MODY are being diagnosed with diabetes under the age of 25. Having a parent with diabetes, with diabetes in two or more generations. They don’t always need insulin. MODY is rare compared with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Other causes of diabetes include:

Steroid Induced Diabetes

This medication can raise blood glucose levels, which can lead to diabetes. People who require steroids long term may go on to develop type 2 diabetes.

Think of people who are on steroid therapy but have not been diagnosed with diabetes (chronic disease i.e. Asthma, COPD, Polymyalgia rheumatica, palliative care or people who may require chemotherapy treatments) because they are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Anti-psychotic drugs i.e. risperidone, aripiprazole, and olanzapine type drugs.

These drugs may lead to weight gain and insulin resistance, which increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Other causes of diabetes

Conditions e.g. cystic fibrosis; pancreatitis; total or partial pancreatectomy; haemochromatosis (too much iron in the body) can lead to diabetes because of damage to the pancreas4Diabetes UK (2021) accessible from: Other types of diabetes Diabetes UK.