Causes of Diabetes

The causes of diabetes vary depending on which type of diabetes you are suffering from. There are three primary forms of diabetes, they are known as Type I, Type II as well as Gestational diabetes. Diabetes occurs when not enough insulin is manufactured by the pancreas or if the insulin it makes doesn’t work properly. This results in higher than normal levels of sugar in the blood.

Type I diabetes occurs when the pancreas can no longer make all the insulin that the body needs. This is thought to happen when your own body begins attacking the cells of the pancreas. This is called an autoimmune reaction. However, no one knows for certain why this occurs but there are many hypotheses out there that attempt to answer that question. Some of the explanations that have been proposed are:
  1. An infection from a very specific type of bacteria or virus
  2. Being exposed to a chemical toxin in your food
  3. An autoimmune reaction triggered in infants by exposure to a component in milk
Just to be clear, the above explanations have not been proven and at this point only represent some theories as to the causes of diabetes.

Type II diabetes can happen for several reasons. Some of these are:
  1. Insulin resistance. This is when the receptors on the cells of the body, which are typically stimulated by insulin, no longer react to it. This causes the pancreas to produce even greater amounts of insulin to compensate, which exhausts its insulin making cells
  2. Not enough insulin is being produced
  3. Although insulin is being produced it may be damaged and therefore doesn’t work the way it should
Some of the factors which will increase the risk of getting Type II diabetes are obesity, getting older and not being physically active. Some other causes of diabetes, although rare, are certain medications and any disease (e.g. pancreatitis) which harms the pancreas thereby inhibiting its production of insulin.

Gestational diabetes is a common health problem that many expectant women develop. It is caused by some of the hormonal changes that all women experience during a pregnancy. During this time the placenta produces hormones that impair the cells of the body from reacting with insulin. The body does it job by producing more insulin, but as the placenta grows it produces more insulin resisting hormones. If the pancreas can’t make enough insulin then sugar levels will become elevated and the result is diabetes.

Most women who develop gestational diabetes do not stay a diabetic after the birth of their baby. However, these women are at a greater risk of developing diabetes during another pregnancy and also later in life.

In addition to knowing the causes of diabetes we should also be aware of what doesn’t cause diabetes as there have been many myths which are totally unfounded.

For example, eating the wrong types of foods or sweets will not give you diabetes. Of course this could lead to obesity which increases the risk of getting Type II diabetes.

Diabetes is not contagious, no one else can catch it from you. Stress is also not one of the causes of diabetes but it does worsen some of the symptoms exhibited in those who do have diabetes. (