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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    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 , 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 , 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 , 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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    A , Integrative Medicine, answered
    There is a close link between obesity and diabetes type 2 risk. In fact, the majority of American overweight/obese adults either have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. Therefore, weight loss is a good place to start in beating this silent killer.  When a person puts on 11 to 16 pounds of body weight they have double the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Those who gain 17 to 24 pounds triple their risk. Losing about 10 percent of your body weight (if you’re overweight or obese) can help with insulin sensitivity and blood sugar management. It’s time to break free from old programming that says we should eat what we want, when we want in the quantities we want and instead start to nourish our bodies and move our bodies to reclaim our natural state of wellness. And since diabetes follows a progressive course, we must intervene early before it’s too late.
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