What Causes Diabetes?

What Causes Diabetes?

Affecting an estimated 26 million Americans, diabetes is a fairly common condition relating to problems with insulin production that has two forms: type 1 and type 2. While the exact causes of diabetes have not been determined, various risk factors have been identified as being related to the condition. With that in mind, understanding these risk factors can help with understanding how and why the disease occurs.

Risk Factors Associated with Diabetes

For type 1 diabetes, the body stops making insulin because its immune system has started attacking and destroying the cells where insulin is made — this form of the disease seems to be influenced by genetics, environmental factors and potentially even exposure to certain viruses. For type 2 diabetes, where the body either isn’t making enough insulin or isn’t using its insulin as efficiently as it could, genetics, lifestyle factors, obesity and a lethargic lifestyle are typically involved. While symptoms are typically the first warning signs that patients notice, a simple blood test will be able to reveal whether or not someone has the condition.

Who Gets Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is sometimes called juvenile diabetes because it is the type of the disease most commonly seen in children, but in fact it can happen to patients at any age. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is most prevalent in people who are overweight, have a family history of the disease, are over the age of 45 and/or are non-Caucasians. Likewise, certain racial and ethnic groups seem to have a higher predisposition to type 2 diabetes, including American Indians, African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

What Does It Mean to Have Diabetes?

Most patients with diabetes have to change aspects of their lifestyle in order to manage their symptoms and keep blood sugar levels in a normal range. They may need to take insulin every day just to survive. Likewise, a large number of diabetes patients are helped by making changes to their habits, such as incorporating a healthy diet, an active lifestyle and regular blood sugar testing into their lifestyles. While, at first, a diabetes diagnosis can be scary, the good news is that it is definitely possible to control symptoms once you learn how to keep your blood sugar in a healthy range.

Do you or someone you love have symptoms or a diagnosis of diabetes? Beyond knowing what causes diabetes, are you curious about how diabetes treatment works and, if you have the condition, what you could do to better care for your health? If so, contact a health professional today. Through proper management, your diabetes symptoms can become more bearable and you can get back to living a rich, full life.