Type 2 Diabetes Causes and Risk Factors

Type 2 Diabetes Causes and Risk Factors

There are no known, specific causes for Type 2 diabetes. However, those most at risk for Type 2 diabetes are adults 45 years and older and those of any age who are sedentary and overweight.

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    Did you know that being an apple shape (more fat around your middle) rather than a pear shape (more fat around your hips) puts you at greater risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease? Another measure you can take is of how far it is around your waist (your waist circumference).

    Take a tape measure (a flexible one is best) and place it snugly (not tight) around your waist. Compare the length around your waist to the number below. If the length of your waist is the same or bigger than the numbers below, you have too much weight around your waist.
    • Men: over 40 inches
    • Women: over 35 inches
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    After lots of studies and research, the best we can say is maybe. Stress can elevate blood glucose levels. Sometimes this is the direct effect of stress hormones. Other times, it's because stress leads people to eat more and be less active, which can also raise blood glucose levels. We know this is true for people who already have diabetes. So, it seems likely that if your blood glucose levels are already higher than normal (but not yet high enough to call it diabetes), stress could push your levels into the diabetes range.

    So the stress of a serious life event, such as the death of a loved one or the loss of a job, could play a part in developing diabetes. However, it is likely you would have eventually developed diabetes anyway as insulin resistance increased or insulin production decreased.

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    One way to fight type 2 diabetes is to get enough good sleep. Just three weeks with a lack of sleep slows your metabolism and decreases the secretion of insulin (the hormone that controls blood sugar). That formula puts you at risk for diabetes. What you need is 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, and a consistent bedtime.
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    A Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism, answered on behalf of
    Why are people being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at younger ages?
    Type 2 diabetes used to be a disease of middle age. That has changed, says endocrinologist Athena Philis-Tsimikas, MD, of Scripps Health. In this WisePatient video, she describes the growing epidemic of diabetes among people in their 30s and younger.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Type II diabetes occurs most often in people who are overweight. Although the reasons are unclear, excess weight seems to impede the body's ability to metabolize sugar properly. That fact would make one think that it was environmental causes -- that is, overeating -- that was to blame. But no, it's a genetically transmitted disease with what is called variable penetrance. Variable penetrance means that if you're a twin and your twin gets type II diabetes, you have the genes for it, but the rate of penetrance -- that is, how often one sees the clinical manifestations of diabetes and how much it ages you -- is governed to a large degree by your lifestyle choices.

    Type II diabetes affects 15 to 25 percent of adults over age fifty-five but is more prevalent among some groups of people than others, confirming that a genetic component is in operation. For example, African-Americans, particularly women, are much more susceptible to type II diabetes than other people their age. Indeed, 25 percent of African-Americans over the age of fifty-five have type II diabetes. Among certain Native American populations, the prevalence can be as high as 80 percent. However, in many cases, the disease is triggered by a combination of genetic predisposition and lifestyle choices. Ninety percent of those who get type II diabetes are considerably overweight, and most of these individuals also do not exercise or have a proper diet, further exacerbating the condition. If you "live young," you will have less chance of getting type II diabetes, no matter what genes you have.
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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    Type 2 diabetes causes other health problems, especially if blood sugar levels are not well controlled. Type 2 diabetes can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, vision problems and blindness, kidney disease and kidney failure, nerve damage and amputations.
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    There are many things, called risk factors, that affect your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Some of these you can change, like whether or not you smoke, and some you can't, like your age. It's important to know where you stand in your risk for diabetes and heart disease. Once you know your risk, you can take steps to lower your risk so you can lead a longer, healthier life.

    Either way, understanding and managing your risk can help you prevent diabetes and heart disease and live a longer, better life.

    Risk factors include:
    • Overweight
    • High blood glucose (sugar)
    • History of diabetes during pregnancy, called gestational diabetes (for women)
    • High blood pressure
    • Unhealthy cholesterol
    • Physical inactivity
    • Smoking
    • Unhealthy eating
    • Age, race, gender, and family history
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Your blood glucose level is monitored by cells in your pancreas that are the lone producers of insulin, the hormone that transports glucose from the outside to the inside of your cells so your body can transform that glucose into usable energy.

    When the alarm sounds to make more insulin to help transport the extra blood glucose, the body can act like a chubby runner at the front of a marathon; it just can't keep up. It huffs and puffs and makes more insulin, but the demand is just too great.

    A person with type 2 diabetes has lost this glucose-insulin struggle. And so a vicious cycle begins: It made sense for us to store fat to survive when we were likely to have famines periodically or failed bison hunts, but today that fat causes insulin resistance, which makes us eat more, which causes more fat, which is associated with eating more, so we accumulate more fat, which causes more insulin resistance, and so on.
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    A , Fitness, answered
    The overproduction of insulin is one of the main factors that can lead to type 2 diabetes. When you eat foods loaded with sugar, your body produces extra insulin so that it can unlock cells and your body can use it for fuel. This is usually followed by a drop in blood sugar, which reignites the craving for more sugary foods. What’s created is a vicious cycle that wears out your cells -- so much so that they can eventually forget how to respond to insulin. This is what is known as insulin resistance, and once you have this, you’re well on your way to type 2 diabetes.

    A Harvard study confirmed the link between consumption of sugars and increased risk of diabetes. Research published in the journals of the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association described how visceral fat can begin to dump fatty acids and hormones directly into the liver, which causes it to produce too much glucose. Again, your body starts producing more insulin to try to manage the glucose. This cycle causes your body to become insulin resistant, which leads to type 2 diabetes. You see, even when your body’s response to insulin is broken, your pancreas will continue to produce it to make sure that your body is getting fuel, and this simply wears your pancreas out. When your pancreas no longer produces enough insulin, or your cells fail to respond to insulin, you’ve reached the diabetic state.

    When you have diabetes, you’re at risk for a long list of complications. According to the American Diabetes Association, you’re susceptible to vision loss, kidney
    disease, circulation problems, skin problems, depression, nerve damage, gum disease, heart disease and stroke. This means that although fewer people die from diabetes than the other two big killers (cancer and heart disease), life expectancy is cut short in those with type 2 diabetes -- by almost 15 years.

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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    Type 2 diabetes develops when cells start ignoring insulin. To understand why that matters, you need to understand that carbohydrates in food break down into glucose (sugar) during digestion. That glucose enters the bloodstream. Meanwhile, the pancreas produces the hormone insulin in response to the rise in blood glucose. Insulin is needed to "unlock," or open, the cells so that glucose can enter and be used for energy. When cells become insulin resistant, the pancreas struggles to make even more insulin. Eventually, the pancreas may not be able to make as much insulin as before, and blood sugar levels just get higher and higher.

    Heredity and lifestyle factors, such as being overweight and not exercising, increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
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