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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    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 , 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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    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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    A Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism, answered on behalf of
    Why does obesity raise my risk for developing type 2 diabetes?
    Being overweight can affect the body's ability to use insulin. In this video, Ronald Tamler, MD, clinical director of the Mount Sinai Diabetes Center, discuses insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity.
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    A answered
    You are at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes if you are overweight, don't exercise and are over 30 or have close relatives with diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes -- where the pancreas makes insulin, but the body does not respond to it properly (insulin resistance). Higher-risk groups include blacks, Latino/Hispanic, Native American, Alaskan Native, Asian and Pacific Islander American.

    Prediabetes is now recognized as a risk factor for developing diabetes later in life. The term describes an increasingly common condition in which blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are higher than normal but are not yet diabetic. About 86 million Americans have prediabetes, in addition to the 29.1 million with diabetes.

    If you are 45 or older, you should be screened for diabetes. A normal initial test should be followed up with retesting at three-year intervals or at the frequency recommended by your healthcare professional based on your personal health history and other risk factors you may have.

    For individuals at high risk for developing diabetes, the guidelines issued by leading health professional organizations recommend that screening begin at age 30. These conditions, in addition to those described above, can raise your risk for developing diabetes.
    • having blood pressure at or above 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm/Hg)
    • having abnormal blood fat levels, such as high-density lipoproteins (HDL) less than 40 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or triglycerides greater than 200 mg/dL
    • test results showing impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose (100-125 mg/dL after an overnight fast) and a blood glucose level of 140-199 mg/dl two hours after drinking the glucose drink provided in the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
    • women who had diabetes during pregnancy or gave birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds
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    Genetics appears to play a role in how type 2 diabetes develops. Like type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes also appears to run in families, and it is most likely due to the inheritance of certain genes. The link to genetics seems even stronger in type 2 diabetes than in type 1 diabetes. If a person with type 1 diabetes has an identical twin, there is a 25 to 50 percent chance that the twin will develop diabetes. But if a person with type 2 diabetes has an identical twin, there is a 60 to 75 percent chance that the person will develop diabetes.

    More evidence for the role of genes in type 2 diabetes comes from studying certain ethnic groups. Compared with Caucasians, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans (except Cuban Americans), and Native Americans all get type 2 diabetes more often. Native Americans have the highest rate of type 2 diabetes in the world. Hispanic groups, such as Mexican Americans, that share genes with Native American groups (where there has been cultural mixing) have a higher rate of type 2 diabetes than Hispanic groups, such as Cuban Americans, where less intercultural contact has occurred.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Dr. Robin Miller - pesticides and Type 2 diabetes

    Type 2 diabetes rates continue to climb, and there are many contributing factors. In this video, Dr. Robin Miller discusses a study from Finland that links pesticide exposure and type 2 diabetes.


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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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    Here are some things you can do to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes:
    • Lose weight. Are you more than 20% over your ideal body weight? Losing even a few pounds can help you prevent type 2 diabetes.
    • Make healthy food choices. Follow simple daily guidelines, like eating enough fresh vegetables and fruits, and whole grains. Limit fat to 30% or less of your daily calories, and watch your portion sizes. Healthy eating habits can go a long way in preventing diabetes and other health problems.
    • Stay active. Regular exercise can help prevent type 2 diabetes. Plus it can help you lose weight, manage stress, and feel better. Learn more about physical activity
    • Breastfeed. If you can, breastfeed your baby. Breastfeeding can provide both short- and long-term benefits to both your baby and to you.
    • Talk to your doctor. Be sure to tell your health care providers that you've had GDM.
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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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