If you have ever had a friend, family member, or coworker receive a diagnosis for diabetes, there is a good chance that you’ve experienced just how surprising the news can be. In popular media, diabetes causes are often represented as extremely monolithic, a small group of factors that are easily avoided if proper care is taken. It’s the reason why many people express disbelief when they first receive their diagnosis from a health professional. After all, how can diabetes occur to someone who eats healthily, exercises frequently, and get enough sleep every night?
The answer is that diabetes can actually be caused by a wide variety of different factors, not all of which can be actively avoided. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the things that can cause diabetes, and what you can do to reduce your overall risk of developing the illness.
What Causes Diabetes?
At its core, diabetes describes any illness that develops from the body’s inability to properly produce or control insulin. Insulin is the hormone that signals for cells to absorb sugar from the blood stream. This sugar is used to power the cell, allowing the body to perform many necessary functions. An incorrect amount of insulin means that cells either cannot get enough blood sugar, or are looking to take in more sugar than there is available.
Insulin problems stem from a number of different sources. In people with type 1 diabetes, insulin is not being produced in sufficient quantities because the beta cells in the pancreas are impaired in some way. This is why type 1 diabetes most commonly presents with heavy fatigue; the cells in the body simply don’t have enough sugar to operate.
Medical researchers are less sure why type 2 diabetes happens. It is statistically more common in those bearing excess weight or exposed to a lot of stress, signalling that these conditions may somehow affect hormone levels. There is also research that shows that specific genes may be what causes diabetes in some people, as populations that have many bearers of specific gene sequences see dramatically higher rates of diabetes, even with lifestyle factors like diet and exercise controlled for.
How to Prevent Diabetes
Even though the medical community might not have a complete consensus on what actually causes diabetes, there are certainly preventative measures you can take to reduce your likelihood of developing insulin problems.
One of the most important factors is diet. A diet rich in proteins and leafy greens is shown to reduce fat accumulation, which can be a factor that contributes to development of diabetes. Eating complex carbohydrates instead of refined sugars can also help keep your blood sugars in check.
Exercise can also majorly reduce your likelihood of developing diabetes. Just forty minutes of heart elevating exercise a day is shown to have a dramatic affect on diabetes, heart disease, and cancer rates.
The most important factor is to live healthily regularly. Eating well and exercising moderately are easy ways to improve your lifestyle without committing to anything that might make you lose motivation.