What is diabetes?

Learn about the different types of diabetes

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are mistakenly destroyed by the body’s immune system. T1D seems to have a genetic component and can be diagnosed early in life but also in adulthood. Its causes are not fully known, and there is currently no cure. People with T1D are dependent on injected or pumped insulin to survive.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is often diagnosed later in life and can be due to genetic predisposition or behavior. T2D is a metabolic disorder in which a person’s body still produces insulin but is unable to use it effectively. It can be managed with diet and exercise or medication. More serious cases may require insulin therapy.

Though they share the name diabetes, the two diseases are quite different.

To find out if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, click below to take a diabetes risk test.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy (gestation). Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how your cells use sugar (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy and your baby’s health.

​In gestational diabetes, blood sugar usually returns to normal soon after delivery. But if you’ve had gestational diabetes, you’re at risk for type 2 diabetes. You’ll continue working with your health care team to monitor and manage your blood sugar.


Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Approximately 84 million American adults – more than 1 in 3 – are estimated to have prediabetes, and 90% do not know they have it. If left unmanaged, people with prediabetes may develop type 2 diabetes within 3 years. Prediabetes puts you at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.