Causes for Type 2 DiabetesGavin James2020-02-04T12:37:30+00:00
Because it’s the most common form of the disease, let’s examine the causes of type 2 diabetes.
When we’re healthy, our pancreas releases insulin to help our body store and use sugar from the food we eat. Diabetes happens when one or more of the following occurs:
Our pancreas doesn’t make insulin
Our pancreas makes very little insulin
Our body doesn’t respond to insulin like it should
To better understand how this impacts our body, it helps to know more about how our metabolism works – or how our bodies use food for energy.
Our body is made up of millions of cells. To make energy, the cells need food in a very simple form. When we eat or drink, much of our food is broken down into sugar or glucose. Glucose provides the energy our body needs to function.
Think of your blood vessels and blood as highways that transport sugar to cells where it is used inside our muscles or to the liver where it can be stored. Our blood vessels get sugar from our stomachs, when we eat foods that get broken down into sugar.
But sugar cannot enter into our cells by itself. Our pancreas releases insulin into the blood, which serves as a “key” that opens our cells to let sugar inside, so it can be used for energy.
When sugar leaves the bloodstream and enters our cells, the blood sugar level in our blood is lowered. Without insulin, or the “key,” sugar cannot get into our body’s cells for use as energy. This causes sugar to rise in our blood. Too much sugar in the blood is what leads to diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is often called a “lifestyle” disease because it is caused by a combination of both lifestyle factors and genetics.
Here are some of the risk factors that may increase your chance of getting type 2 diabetes:
Family history of diabetes
Physical stress (such as surgery or illness)
Use of certain medications, including steroids
Injury to the pancreas (such as infection, tumor, surgery or accident)
High blood pressure
Abnormal blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels
Age (risk increases with age)
History of gestational diabetes
Are you at risk for Type 2 diabetes?
You should always consult with your trusted diabetes doctor if you suspect you are diabetic or pre-diabetic. Your doctor may conduct a glucose tolerance test or an impaired glucose tolerance test as one way to determine a diagnosis.
But in general, there are risk factors you should consider including:
Age: Type 2 diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older.
Waist circumference: Waist size has been linked to type 2 diabetes risk – regardless of your weight or BMI. Researchers found that overweight people with a large waist (defined as over 102cm for men and 88cm for women) had a similar risk of developing diabetes to those who were diagnosed as clinically obese.
BMI: Your bod mass index (BMI) can be an important, though imperfect, indicator of type 2 diabetes. In general, a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered a healthy weight. A BMI that ranges from 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. And a BMI of 30 or higher falls into the obese category, according to the Centers for Disease Control in the US. Because type 2 diabetes and obesity are generally very tightly linked, having a high BMI can be an indicator that you should be tested for diabetes.
Assessment of physical activity: As the number of people diagnosed with diabetes continues to grow, researchers are focusing on discovering why it is increasing so rapidly. New research finds that not having regular physical activity impairs control of blood sugar levels, suggesting that inactivity may play a key role in the development of Type 2 diabetes for many people.
Family history: Family health history is an important risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Most of us with type 2 diabetes have a family member – such as a mother, father, brother, or sister – with the disease already.
Can you reverse diabetes?
Until recently, Type 2 diabetes was seen as a chronic disease. But reversing type 2 diabetes is now possible based on breakthrough technology and the latest in medical science.