What Causes Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system destroying the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. This causes diabetes by leaving the body without enough insulin to function normally. This is called an autoimmune reaction, or autoimmune cause, because the body is attacking itself. There are many factors that contribute to the development of diabetes but the most important ones are:
- Weight – the more fat you have in your body, to more resistant your cells are to insulin
- Fat distributions – being apple-shaped (ie having more fat in your belly) puts you at greater risk than having a pear-shaped body (ie fat in your thighs and hips)
- Inactive lifestyle – exercise increases cell’s sensitivity to insulin since your cells need more energy
- Family history – your risk of diabetes increases if an immediate family member has diabetes
- Age – as you get older, your risk for diabetes increases as you may become less active
You may have type 2 diabetes for years and not even have known it! The symptoms may develop slowly. Here’s what to keep an eye out for since they may signal that your diabetes control is getting worse:
- Increased thirst and frequent urination – excess amounts of sugar in your bloodstream causes fluid to be lost from your body, leaving you thirsty and urinating more
- Increased hunger – without a sufficient amount of insulin, your body becomes depleted of energy and increases your appetite
- Weight loss – without the ability to metabolize glucose properly, your body will turn to other fuel sources such as proteins and fats.
- Fatigue – lack of glucose in your cells may cause you to become tiresome and irritable
- Blurred vision – high blood sugar causes excess fluid to be moved away from the lenses in your eyes, affecting your ability to focus properly
- Slow-healing or frequent infections – type 2 diabetes affects your bodies immune system
- Areas of dark skin – some instances of insulin resistance may leave patches of darkened skin patches around your armpits and neck