Type II diabetes is a lifestyle disease and several lifestyle factors are known to cause Type II diabetes. In addition heredity also plays a major role in Type II diabetes. Each of these factors is detailed below:
If close relatives have Type II diabetes then the chances of developing the disease increases drastically when compared to the general population. Studies have been conducted on various genes that are thought to cause the disease, but results have varied across ethnic groups. Genes that influence fat metabolism are thought to play a major role in Type II diabetes. The role of genetics in Type II diabetes is much higher than that for Type II diabetes.
It is found that Asians, Africans and Hispanics are more prone to Type II diabetes thus pointing to a possible link between ethnicity and diabetes.
Although stress may not directly cause diabetes, it can cause diabetes symptoms to appear in a pre-diabetic person. It can also aggravate the disease in someone who already suffers from diabetes. The adrenaline hormone released in a typical stressful situation is known to impair the function of insulin thus resulting in elevated blood glucose levels. Even physical stress caused by an illness or severe pain such as after a surgery can cause the typical stress response and cause an increase blood sugar.
A sedentary lifestyle is known to cause diabetes. This combined with obesity is one of the major risk factors of diabetes. In fact studies have shown that people with diabetes typically eat much more, are fatter and have a less active lifestyle than their own siblings.
A body mass index higher than 30 is a sure sign of impending diabetes. The heavier the body, the higher is the energy requirements of the cells. The pancreas keeps producing additional insulin till one day it just tires out and stops working. This will lead to an increase in blood sugar levels as the cells are no longer able to convert that into energy. Childhood obesity is also known to cause diabetes at a later stage in life.
Frequent smoking is another cause of Type II diabetes. Smoking is found to increase fasting glucose levels and some studies have shown that smokers have almost a 50% increased chance of developing diabetes than non smokers. In addition smoking can also aggravate the symptoms in a diabetic patient as it increases the chances of high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure which are harmful to a diabetic patient.
A fat and carbohydrate rich diet can cause diabetes and increase the risk factors in patients already suffering from the disease.
A high dose of alcohol can also be a cause of Type II diabetes. Heavy alcohol use can lead to lever diseases which in turn can cause obesity and thus lead to Type II diabetes.
Type II diabetes usually manifests itself after the age of 45, although it can be seen rarely in younger people too. Age is a major risk factor of Type II diabetes and affects more than 10% of world population above the age of 65.
In Utero Malnutrition
Although not proven, some studies point to a possible relationship between malnutrition while being in the mother’s womb and development of Type II diabetes later in life. It is suspected that in utero malnutrition may interfere with beta cell development in the pancreas.
In addition to these factors, other conditions such as use of certain medicines can trigger diabetic like symptoms known as secondary diabetes. Gestational diabetes is caused when a person is pregnant and is found to disappear once the baby is born. However, people who suffer from gestational diabetes are more prone to develop Type II diabetes at a later stage. During pregnancy insulin sensitivity is lowered because of the action of placental hormones. Repeated pregnancies may increase the chances of developing diabetes especially in overweight and obese women.
Advances in molecular genetics have helped to identify some specific and clinically recognizable forms of diabetes. However these subtypes of diabetes such as maturity onset diabetes of the young more commonly known as MODY are less common and contribute to just 5% of cases.
It is important to note that diabetes is not a contagious disease. Thus a person suffering from diabetes cannot pass it on to people who come into contact with them. It is a lifestyle disease without any cure; however with careful management one can control the symptoms of the disease and lead a healthy life.