Diabetes is a common health problem, but many people don’t know what actually causes it. Let us explore in simple terms what causes diabetes and why it happens.
Diabetes is a group of conditions where your blood sugar (glucose) levels become too high. There are two main types: Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes: The Immune System Attack
Type 1 diabetes usually starts when you’re young. It happens because your immune system, which usually protects you from illnesses, mistakenly attacks the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps sugar enter your cells for energy. When these cells are damaged, your blood sugar levels go up.
Doctors aren’t entirely sure why the immune system turns against these cells, but genes and sometimes infections might play a role. Unfortunately, there’s no known way to prevent Type 1 diabetes, but researchers are trying to find a way to stop it from happening.
Type 2 Diabetes: Lifestyle and Genes Matter
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type and usually affects adults. It’s mainly caused by lifestyle choices and genetics.
Diet: Eating too much sugar, unhealthy fats, and processed foods can make your body’s response to insulin go haywire. Think of it as overloading your body with sugar.
Inactivity: Not being active enough can make your cells resist insulin, which means they don’t let sugar in easily.
Genes: Sometimes, diabetes runs in families. Certain genes can make you more likely to get Type 2 diabetes.
Weight: Being overweight or having too much fat around your belly can lead to diabetes. The extra fat can cause inflammation and make your cells resist insulin.
Metabolic Syndrome: This is when you have a mix of health problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a big belly. It’s a red flag for Type 2 diabetes.
All of these factors interact, making your risk of Type 2 diabetes higher. The good news is you can do things to lower your risk, like eating a balanced diet, being active, and staying at a healthy weight.
The Common Threads
While Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes have different causes, they share some things in common. Genetics can make you more likely to get both types. Also, inflammation and stress can make diabetes worse.
Things like pollution and infections might also play a role, but we’re still learning about them. And don’t forget that not getting enough sleep and being stressed out can mess with your hormones and make it harder to control your blood sugar.
What You Should Know
Diabetes isn’t one-size-fits-all. Type 1 happens because your immune system goes rogue, while Type 2 is often because of lifestyle and genes. These causes can mix and match in different ways.
But, the good news is that you can lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes by making healthy choices. Eat well, stay active, and manage stress. By understanding what causes diabetes, you can take steps to keep your blood sugar in check and live a healthier life.