Causes and Risk Factors of Diabetes

Will having a diet really high in sugar cause me to be at a much greater risk of diabetes?

OK, I admit, I eat a lot of sugar. I am a teenager, and it’s cheap and your surrounded by it. But my parents keep telling me if I keep it up I’m going to get diabetes. But is that true? I am not overweight at all, in fact I am actually a few pounds underweight according to my BMI. And I have a very fast metabolism.

Here are some information on the causes and risk factors of diabetes , that can help you if you are at risk of developing diabetes.

Causes of type 1 diabetes

The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. What is known is that your immune system– which normally fights harmful bacteria or viruses– attacks and destroys your insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This leaves you with little or no insulin. Instead of being transported into your cells, sugar builds up in your bloodstream.

Type 1 is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors, though exactly what many of those factors are is still unclear.

Causes of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes

In prediabetes– which can lead to type 2 diabetes– and in type 2 diabetes, your cells become resistant to the action of insulin, and your pancreas is unable to make enough insulin to overcome this resistance. Instead of moving into your cells where it’s needed for energy, sugar builds up in your bloodstream.

Exactly why this happens is uncertain, although it’s believed that environmental and genetic factors play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes Being overweight is strongly linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, but not everyone with type 2 is overweight.

Non-Modifiable Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

There are a number of risk factors that increase a person’s risk for developing prediabetes and, ultimately, type 2 diabetes. Some of these characteristics are beyond a person’s control, such as:

  1. Family history
    Your risk for developing it is significantly increased if you have a blood relative with diabetes. Map out your family history tree  and take it to your doctor to find out what it means for you.
  2. Race or ethnic background
    If you are of African-American, Asian-American, Latino/Hispanic-American, Native American or Pacific Islander descent, you have a greater likelihood of developing diabetes.
  3. Age
    The older you are, the higher your risk. Generally, type 2 diabetes occurs in middle-aged adults, most frequently after age 45. Health care providers are diagnosing more and more children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes
  4. History of gestational diabetes.
    You are at increased risk if you developed diabetes during pregnancy.

Modifiable Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

While some things that contribute to the development of diabetes are beyond a person’s control, there are also a number of modifiable risk factors. By making healthy changes in these areas, people can reduce their risks or delay the development of diabetes and improve their overall quality of life.

  1. Overweight/obesity
    Being overweight puts you at a higher risk of developing diabetes. Losing five to seven percent of your body weight can cut your risk of developing prediabetes in half, and your risk decreases even more as you lose more weight. Learn how to manage your weight.
  2. Physical inactivity
    Along with overweight/obesity, physical inactivity ranks among the top modifiable risk factors for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Achieving at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity or a combination of the two with muscle-strengthening at least 2 days per week is important for your overall cardiovascular health.
  3. High blood pressure (hypertension).
    In addition to causing damage to the cardiovascular system, untreated high blood pressure has been linked to the development of diabetes. Learn more about high blood pressure and how to control it.
  4. Abnormal cholesterol (lipid) levels.
    Low HDL “good” cholesterol” and/or high triglycerides can increase the risk for Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A healthy eating plan, sufficient aerobic physical activity, and a healthy weight can help improve abnormal lipids. Sometimes medications are necessary.
    By following our healthy living tips, you can take control of these modifiable risk factors, delay the development or prevent of diabetes, and improve your quality of life.

Generally, type 2 diabetes occurs in middle-aged adults, most frequently after age 45. Health care providers are diagnosing more and more children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes
Being overweight puts you at a higher risk of developing diabetes. Losing five to seven percent of your body weight can cut your risk of developing prediabetes in half, and your risk decreases even more as you lose more weight. Low HDL “good” cholesterol” and/or high triglycerides can increase the risk for  diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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Written By Nurse007

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • carrie bradshaw April 13, 2009, 4:49 pm

    taking care of yourself now means less to take care of later. one of the things younger people forget is that they will get older and what you do to your body to your body when you are 20 you will feel when you are 40 the good news is you can have your cake and eat it too. but make sure to balance that out with veggies and exercise its that important

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