Learn more about the different types of diabetes, symptoms, and treatment


Diabetes is a medical problem where your body stops making — or becomes resistant to — insulin, the hormone your body needs to use glucose effectively. When you have diabetes, glucose builds up in your blood. There are three different types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes happens when the pancreas stops producing insulin — or doesn’t produce enough of it. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body’s cells become resistant to insulin. Gestational diabetes is a type of temporary diabetes that happens to some women when they are pregnant.

Early symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, urination, and hunger. You may also experience fatigue and vision problems. Over time, diabetes can eventually lead to various medical problems, including neuropathy, cardiovascular disease, and blindness — especially if your blood sugar isn’t well-controlled. Uncontrolled gestational diabetes also poses health problems for the baby, including very large birth weight, premature birth, low blood sugar after birth, and a greater risk of developing diabetes later in life.

If you have diabetes, it’s critical that you treat it to minimize the risk of complications over time. Treatments vary depending on the extent of the problem. Your doctor will likely recommend that you make dietary and lifestyle changes to control your blood sugar. If you have type 2 diabetes, your doctor may also recommend medication to increase the insulin sensitivity of your cells. If you can’t keep your blood sugar within a normal range from diet and lifestyle changes alone — or if you have type 1 diabetes — you will need to test your blood sugar regularly (using finger sticks and test strips or a wearable continuous glucose monitor) and then inject yourself with an appropriate amount of insulin. Doctors may recommend insulin pumps for some diabetics.

If you have questions about diabetes management or diabetes products such as finger sticks, blood sugar test strips, or continuous glucose monitors, talk to your local pharmacist.

Find a pharmacy