What Causes Diabetes?

by Amy Pusey
(last updated April 17, 2009)

A metabolic disorder, Diabetes develops when the pancreas is not working properly, and either is producing too little insulin or none all together. This a problem because in order for the body to receive the fuel it needs to function, the food we digest must be broken down into the glucose (sugar) that enters our bloodstream, and from there the insulin generated by the pancreas distributes it into the cells throughout the body. When there is not enough insulin to move the sugar from our blood, the sugar builds up, and the excess is excreted through the urine. Therefore, the body loses its energy source because it does not have the insulin required to help feed the body.

In order to understand the causes of Diabetes, it is important to learn that there are three types of the disorder. Each type originates from varying reasons, with the end result of insulin no longer being effectively produced. The categories of Diabetes are:

  • Type 1 Diabetes. This type is due to an autoimmune disease, which occurs when the system that fights infections misfires and instead attacks the body. When this happens to the pancreas, Diabetes is the result with virtually no insulin production. Individuals who are diagnosed with Type 1 require insulin injections on a daily basis in order to survive.
  • Type 2 Diabetes. Approximately 90% of individuals diagnosed with Diabetes have this type. While this type commonly occurs with older age, other contributors routinely assessed are obesity, physical inactivity, and ethnicity. In addition, individuals who display a family history of Diabetes or previously experienced Gestational Diabetes are placed at greater risk for developing the disorder. Type 2 does indicate the production of insulin, but it is either an insufficient quantity or the body does not recognize its presence.
  • Gestational Diabetes. This type of Diabetes develops only during pregnancy, and typically disappears after the pregnancy. However, if you have experienced Gestational Diabetes, your chances of developing Type 2 can increase by up to 50%. The Type 2 can develop in a 5-10 year time frame following the original occurrence.

If you are concerned that you might be a candidate for developing Type 2 Diabetes, there are several symptoms that you can look to identify. When facing a possible health-altering disorder, no symptom should ever be viewed as irrelevant or too minor to be a concern to your doctor. A diabetic sufferer may demonstrate any, or all, of the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased Urination
  • Excessive Thirst or Increased Appetite
  • Nausea
  • Blurred Vision
  • Dry Mouth
  • Unusual Weight Loss or Gain
  • Slow-healing Cuts or Bruises
  • Itching Skin (particularly in the groin and vaginal region)
  • Frequent Vaginal Infections
  • Frequent Yeast Infections (Men or Women)

A word to the wise, it is critical that when any type of Diabetes is diagnosed, all treatment plans should be properly followed. When Diabetes is left untreated, the results can be life-changing or worse, life-threatening. Without proper medical treatment, diabetics place themselves at risk for:

  • Stroke
  • Chronic Dental Disease
  • Retinopathy (progressive eye disease of the retina)
  • Kidney Dysfunction
  • Heart Failure
  • Blood Circulation

Warning Signs—Seek Immediate Medical Assistance! You or someone you know is exhibiting symptoms of nausea, excessive thirst, frequent urination, unusual deep or rapid breathing, are physically weak, and have developed a sweet and acidic odor to your breath. These are associated with Ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening complication of Type 1 Diabetes.

Author Bio

Amy Pusey

With over 18 years experience in operations and human-resource management, Amy Pusey uses her skills in her consulting and freelance writing activities. She is a freelance writer for Tips.net, as well as a resume writer for GreenThumbResumes.com. ...


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