People & Diabetes - Helping You Live Well
HomeWhat is Diabetes?Do I Have Diabetes?Pre-DiabetesType 1 DiabetesType 2 DiabetesGestational DiabetesDiabetes TreatmentDiabetes DietExercise and DiabetesDiabetes TestingDiabetes MedicationsEmotions and DiabetesDiabetes ComplicationsDiabetes StoreAbout UsContact UsSite Map
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?

Enter subhead content here

What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?

By Nina Nazor

Genetics, obesity, lack of exercise and stress may play a role

Type 2 diabetes affects about 200 million people worldwide and has a predicted increase to 300 million by 2025. Also, nowadays more and more children and adolescents are developing Type 2 diabetes, which used affect mostly adults in the past.

Recent studies reveal that genetics, obesity, fetal history, lack of activity, a diet high in fat and stress, all may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes.

Genetic studies have shown that the association of some genes is the root of the cause of Type 2 diabetes. A healthy and active lifestyle for the whole family of a person with diabetes is then greatly recommended to protect their children and young people.

Low birth weight has also been associated with Type 2 diabetes. It seems that poor nourishment of the fetus increases the risk of insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. If that baby is overfed and becomes overweight during childhood, then the risk is a lot higher.

On the other hand, stress has been associated with insulin resistance, which leads to Type 2 diabetes. This happens due to the cascade of metabolic reactions that our emergency hormones trigger when we are stressed.

Obesity has long been associated with diabetes, as well as the lack of physical activity and a diet high in fat. This is thought to cause a condition called insulin resistance.

What is pre-diabetes or insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance means that your muscles, fat, and liver cells cannot use insulin properly. There can be a lot of insulin circulating, but the cells are incapable of using it to allow glucose entering the cells and be converted into energy or stored as fat.

The pancreas keeps releasing more and more insulin until it cannot keep up with the body's need for insulin, and excess glucose builds up in the blood causing hyperglycemia, the main manifestation of Diabetes.

Before excess glucose builds up dangerously in the bloodstream, the person is in a state called "Pre-diabetes". Most people with pre-diabetes develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years, unless they lose 10 or 15 pounds and increase their level of physical activity.

What causes insulin resistance?

Genes are part of the cause. Excess weight and specially too much fat in the abdomen contributes to insulin resistance and increases LDL (bad) blood cholesterol levels, lowers HDL (good) cholesterol levels, raises triglycerides levels, and increases high blood pressure, putting the heart at risk too. This combination of problems is called "metabolic syndrome", or "insulin resistance syndrome".