Type 1 Type 2

Causes of Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. It’s believed that a combination of genetic predisposition and additional (as yet unidentified) factors provoke the immune system into attacking and killing the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

Type 2 diabetes is mainly caused by insulin resistance. This means no matter how much or how little insulin is made, the body can’t use it as well as it should. As a result, glucose can’t be moved from the blood into cells. Over time, the excess sugar in the blood gradually poisons the pancreas causing it to make less insulin and making it even more difficult to keep blood glucose under control.

Obesity is a leading cause of insulin resistance – at least 80% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. Genetic factors are also likely to be involved in the cause of type 2 diabetes. A family history of the disease has been shown to increase the chances of getting it.

Other risk factors for the development of type 2 diabetes include:

-acanthosis nigricans (a condition causing darkened patches of skin)
-being 40 years of age or older
-blood vessel disease (e.g., damage to blood vessels in the eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart, brain, or arms and legs)
-First Nation, Hispanic, South Asian, Asian, or African descent
-giving birth to a large baby
-high blood pressure
-high cholesterol
-a history of gestational diabetes
-HIV infection
-mental health disorders (e.g., bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia)
-obstructive sleep apnea
-polycystic ovary syndrome
-prediabetes or impaired fasting glucose
-use of certain medications (e.g., corticosteroids such as prednisone, certain antipsychotic medications, certain antiviral medications for HIV)

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