Since there are different types of diabetes, each type has a unique possible cause.
The main two causes of diabetes is the body ‘s failure to produce enough of the insulin hormone, and secondly the body develops a resistance to insulin.
· Type 1 diabetes is due to decreased insulin production.
· Type 2 is due to insulin resistance in peripheral tissues.
· In juvenile diabetes, the cause might probably be a lack of vitamin D.
There is also gestational diabetes that only occurs in pregnant women.
Causes of diabetes –
Diabetes mellitus occurs when the pancreas does not create sufficient or any of the hormone insulin, or when the insulin produced does not work efficiently. Thus, this causes the level of glucose in the blood to be higher than normal levels
1. In Type 1 diabetes, the cells in the pancreas that make insulin are attacked and destroyed by the body ‘s own immune system, causing a severe lack of insulin.
It is not clear why this happens, but possible triggers of this reaction could be –
· infection with a specific virus or bacteria;
· exposure to food-borne chemical toxins or
· exposure to cow’s milk when as an infant, where as a yet unidentified component of the milk triggers an autoimmune reaction in the body.
However, these are only assumption, and are yet to be proven.
Type 1 diabetes usually develops in children, teenagers or young adults. Scientists believe this is a genetically caused condition and is not related to lifestyle habits.
Risk factors for developing type – 1diabetes include:
1. Family history – a child that has a parent or sibling with type 1 diabetes has a 2-6% chance of developing the disease.
2. Autoimmune disorders – such as thyroid disease and celiac disease, raises the risk of type 1 diabetes.
3. Early stoppage of breastfeeding and/or exposure to cow ‘s milk – breastfeeding an infant for at least three months decreases the risk of type 1 diabetes. Some studies also show that exposure to cow ‘s milk or cow ‘s milk-based formula before one year of age may increase diabetes risk.
4. Ethnicity – Americans, Caucasians have a greater risk of type 1 diabetes as compared to African-Americans, Asian Americans, Latin Americans.
5. History of childhood virus diseases
2. Type 2 diabetes is believed to develop when:
· the receptors on the human cells in the body that respond to the action of insulin fall short of being stimulated by it – known as insulin resistance. In reaction to this, more insulin may be produced, and this over-production exhausts the insulin-manufacturing cells in the pancreas;
· there is just insufficient insulin available in the body and
· the insulin that is available may be abnormal and therefore doesn’t function properly.
The following risk factors increase the chances of one developing Type 2 diabetes:
· increasing age
· if it runs in the family, ie. hereditary
· high blood pressure
· diet which is high in fat and low in dietary fibre
· sedentary lifestyle with no or very less physical activity.
· certain medicines such as diurectics, which increase the amount of water flowing into the urine. Corticosteroids can also lead to diabetes because they work against the action of insulin.
· gestational diabetes
· any illness or disease that damages the pancreas and affects its ability to produce insulin e.g. pancreatitis. (inflammation of the pancreas) and thyrotoxicosis (a poisonous condition that results from an overactive thyroid gland).
· hormone treatments, such as growth hormone, thyroid hormone and adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH).
What does not cause diabetes?
It is also important to be aware of the different myths that have arisen about the causes of diabetes over time.
Eating sweets, excess sugar or the wrong kind of food (fried and fatty food) does not cause diabetes. However, this type of a diet may cause obesity, and overweight people are generally prone to developing Type 2 diabetes. So, its not the food, but the effect of food that may cause diabetes.
So, if you love eating and are a foodoholic, make sure to burn out the extra calories that go on to make the flab.
Stress does not cause diabetes, although it may be a trigger for the body turning on itself as in the case of Type 1 diabetes. Stress, however does definitely make the symptoms worse for those who already have diabetes.
People with diabetes should never eat sugar and sweets. Sugar and sweets do raise the blood glucose, but people with diabetes can safely eat sugar as part of their meal plan.
People with diabetes should eat a special diabetes diet. This is a false notion. One has to eat regulated, along with a balanced diet.
Diabetes is not contagious. Someone with diabetes cannot transmit it on to anyone else.
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