Most of us pride ourselves on living a healthy lifestyle. We mostly eat healthy, try to get as much exercise as we can, avoid excessive sources of stress, and only drink in moderation. As a result, the wide majority of people do not believe that they are at risk of developing diabetes. In a world where heart disease is a constant specter in our lives and cancer is an all too common cause of death, it is often a source of comfort to believe that diabetes can be reliably warded off by a combination of salads and weekly jogging.
The problem is that the story regarding diabetes is good bit more complicated than that. Diabetes does not, in fact, result from a single cause. In reality, there are many different factors that can lead to the development of the illness. Diabetes as a term only describes the body’s inability to interact properly with the hormone insulin. When it comes to what causes this defect, the answers are so differing and many that the doctors have categorized diabetes into three main types: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.
We will describe the features of each different category of diabetes, as well as what we know in terms of causes. Even if there’s nothing you can necessarily do about some diabetes causes, it’s helpful to be able to identify each diabetes type for the sake of proper treatment.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes is the type that is most commonly associated with youth. This variety of diabetes generally presents in young people, and makes itself known by way of fatigue and loss of weight.
The underlying cause of type 1 diabetes is a malfunction of the immune system. The immune system in a healthy body will only attack cells that are foreign or nefarious, but in those who suffer from type 1 diabetes the immune cells attack beta cells in the pancreas. These cells are responsible for creating insulin. This results in a shortage of insulin, which means cells can not absorb enough blood sugar for proper function.
Type 2 Diabetes
This type of diabetes can be diagnosed in people of all ages. Type 2 diabetes affects those of all races and genders, but occurs more frequently in people who are overweight or otherwise living an unhealthy lifestyle.
Type 2 diabetes causes are not entirely known. This disease occurs when cells become resistant to insulin, so much so that the pancreas is insufficiently productive to allow cells to take in sugar. The cause of this resistance is not know, but is speculated to be related to certain genes.
Gestational diabetes affects pregnant mothers. It begins during their pregnancy, and generally ends shortly afterwards. For the most part, this kind of diabetes is not known to be chronic.
This diabetes type results from hormones that are released from the placenta during pregnancy. These hormones interact with cells in some way that reduces the effectiveness of insulin. It is not known why some women are more susceptible to developing this condition.