Diabetes and its Causes
Diabetes is a disease that affects about 5% of the Worlds Population and is much more common in western countries, like the United States.
There are two types of diabetes mellitus, Type I Diabetes and Type II Diabetes, which affect the way the body uses or produces insulin. Insulin, which is a hormone produced by the pancreas, is used to absorb sugars in the bloodstream. The insulin turns these sugars, called glucose, into energy.
For someone with Type I Diabetes, the body will not produce enough, or in some cases any, insulin. This requires the user to carefully monitor their blood sugar level and take supplementary insulin shots. Usually Type I Diabetes develops during adolescence, with it rarely manifesting itself after the age of thirty.
In those who suffer from Type II Diabetes, the body develops a resistance to insulin. Type II Diabetes is by far the most common form of diabetes, with approximately 95% of diabetes cases being Type II Diabetes. Type II Diabetes is much more common among those who are over the age of forty, although it can also develop during pregnancy. In this case, it is referred to as gestational diabetes and usually will go away after childbirth. However, women who develop gestational childbirth during pregnancy are at a much higher risk of Developing Type II Diabetes as they grow older.
Causes of Type I Diabetes
Diabetes has a number of causes. Genetics and hereditary are know to play a role in the development of diabetes, but it is not a very clearcut process. For instance, children of parents with Type I Diabetes do have a greater risk of developing diabetes, but most children who develop diabetes do not have diabetic parents.
Often, Type I diabetes is caused when the body’s immune system kills the insulin secreting cells of the pancreas. This brought is called an autoimmune disorder, which is where the body attacks itself. Viral infections are also thought to play a role in the development of diabetes. Those who have had a case of pancreatitis, which is severe inflammation of the pancreas, are also at an increased risk of developing diabetes.
Causes of Type II Diabetes
Most of the above causes of diabetes are related to Type I Diabetes and the causes of Type II Diabetes are not as well documented. Type II diabetes is much more common in those who are obese, so diet and body weight are known to play a part. Genetics are also thought to be important, because approximately a third of those with Type II diabetes also have a relative with diabetes.
Type II diabetes is much more common is western cultures, specifically those that are affluent, where food intake is much larger and there are more people who suffer from obesity. Corticosteroid drugs and an elevated level of corticosteroid hormones, which is common among those with an overactive adrenal gland, have also been shown to increase the risk of developing Type II Diabetes. This is because corticosteroids act in opposition to insulin.