What Causes Type 2 Diabetes – Discover the Risk Factors

So what causes type 2 diabetes and why has this disease experienced such a rapid rise in occurrence in recent years? This is a question that has been asked in many places, from family living rooms to research labs. The answer may lie in overall lifestyle shift in today’s world.

Before you can grasp what causes type 2 diabetes, learn what it is. "When you have type 2 diabetes, the body does not respond correctly to insulin. This is called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means that fat, liver, and muscle cells do not respond normally to insulin. As a result blood sugar does not get into cells to be stored for energy" (1)

When sugar is unable to enter cells, sugar accumulates in the bloodstream and leads to abnormally high blood sugar levels.

So when you get to the bottom of what causes type 2 diabetes the answer revolves around how your body has been handling insulin. There are risk factors that make it harder for your body to handle insulin properly and one factor is obesity or being overweight.

Carrying excess amounts of fat on your body interferes with your body’s ability to use insulin.

There are other risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes and they include:

  • A family history of diabetes (or a history of gestational diabetes in an individual)
  • Low physical activity level
  • Poor nutritional diet
  • Age greater than 45 years
  • High blood pressure
  • Low HDL cholesterol (less than 35 mg/dL)
  • High triglyceride level (greater than 250 mg/dL)
  • Being part of an ethnic group including: Native American, African American, Hispanic or Asian decent

What causes type 2 diabetes is a combination of factors, some you can control such as: being overweight or obese, following a poor nutritional diet and being inactive. Others are out of your control including: family history and ethnic background.

If you suspect that you may be at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes you should consult with your doctor who will run a definitive type 2 diabetes test.

(1) Medline Plus (2010). Type 2 diabetes. Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000313.htm

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