The cause of diabetes type 2 can be split into two categories: those factors that can be controlled by you and those that are out of your control.
Diabetes type 2 has been on the rise and it is now being diagnosed in young adults, teens and even children as well as more and more adults. "The recent dramatic increase indicates that lifestyle factors (obesity and sedentary lifestyle) may be particularly important in triggering the genetic elements that cause this type of diabetes" (1).
Obesity is one cause of diabetes type 2 that is under your control. Extra fat that you carry interferes with the proper use of insulin by the body. In type 2 diabetes the body cells resist the effects of insulin making it difficult for insulin to move sugar out of the blood and into the body cells. Fat can increase this resistance.
Another cause of diabetes type 2 is following a low nutritional diet. A diet that is high in sugar or refined carbohydrates and low in fiber can cause blood sugar levels to spike making it more challenging for insulin to clear the excess sugar out of the bloodstream.
If you are generally inactive, have high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol or high triglyceride levels, these factors can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
One cause of diabetes type 2 that is out of your control is your family history. Having a parent or close relative with the disease increases your risk. Another cause is a personal health history of gestational diabetes in a woman.
Other causes outside of your control include: being over the age of 45 or being part of an ethnic group including: Native American, African American, Hispanic or Asian decent.
A note of importance is that the cause of diabetes type 2 is different than that of diabetes type 1. Diabetes type 1 results due to the destruction of insulin producing cells in the pancreas. This leaves a type 1 diabetic dependant on insulin for the rest of his or her life.
In diabetes type 2, your body may still be able to produce insulin but it may be too little or your body cells may have become resistant to the effects of the insulin.
(1) Los Angeles Chinese Learning Center (2010). Type 2 diabetes causes. Retrieved from http://www.chinese-school.netfirms.org/diabetes-type-2-causes.html