Top 5: What Causes Diabetes?
Diabetes, one of the most rampant diseases in America, affects 9.4% of the population. Every year 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. In 2015, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. The American Diabetes Association estimated that the total costs of diagnosed diabetes had risen to $327 billion in 2017, compared to $245 billion in 2012. These statistics show a devastating threat to the health of America.
Read on for more information on the top 5 causes of diabetes and what you can do to prevent the disease.
Type 1 Diabetes vs Type 2 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes, commonly known as insulin-dependent diabetes, often affects young children. The disease is an autoimmune condition caused by the body’s antibodies attacking its own pancreas. Therefore, people with type 1 diabetes don’t have a functioning, insulin-producing, pancreas.
Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, is a more mild form of the disease. Usually, the patient is not insulin-dependent and the pancreas is creating some insulin on its own. The amount produced by the pancreas is either too little or the body has developed insulin resistance. Obese people are more commonly affected by insulin resistance.
There is no cure for type 1 or type 2 diabetes. However, type 2 diabetes can be managed with weight management, nutrition, and proper exercise. In most cases, type 2 diabetes progresses and the patient often needs to be prescribed diabetic medication.
What Causes Diabetes?
- Obesity – Avoiding exercise and eating unhealthy often leads to obesity. This is the primary cause of diabetes. More than 90% of type 2 diabetics are overweight or obese. However, not everyone who is overweight or obese will develop diabetes. Nutrition and exercise can go a long way in a person’s health status.
- Genetics – Both types of diabetes contain genetic components. If there is a history of diabetes in your family, you may be genetically inclined to develop the condition. Furthermore, there are specific ethnic groups that are at a higher risk level of developing diabetes:
- African Americans
- Asian Americans
- American Indians
- Alaska Natives
- Pacific Islanders
- Smoking – Smoking, one of the most devastating influences in the healthiness of Americans. More specifically, the habit causes type 2 diabetes. According to the CDC, smokers are 30% to 40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers. Smoking makes diabetes and other health conditions caused by diabetes, more difficult to control. Smokers who have contracted diabetes have a higher risk of developing complications associated with diabetes. Including:
- Heart and kidney disease
- Poor blood flow in extremities leads to infections, ulcers, and amputation
- Retinopathy (causes blindness)
- Peripheral neuropathy (damaged nerves to the extremities)
- Pregnancy – gestational diabetes is the result of hormones and genetics. During pregnancy, the placenta creates hormones that affect the production of insulin, causing insulin resistance. In most pregnant women, the pancreas is able to compensate and produce enough insulin, but in women genetically predispositioned to diabetes, the pancreas cannot function properly.
- Red Meat – What food causes diabetes? The consumption of red meat has been linked to colorectal cancer and heart disease. Adding to the list, red meat consumption is now a concerning factor for type 2 diabetes. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, sodium, nitrites, and iron, found in red meat, are high-level contributors to the disease, especially when consumed in excess amounts.
How Do You Prevent Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be prevented. Be proactive against the disease and receive regular lab and blood work. If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, take the necessary steps in reversing the progression of the disease. How to prevent diabetes effectively:
- Exercise regularly
- Lose weight
- Cut down on sugars and refined carbs
- Don’t drink your calories
- Quit smoking
- Avoid being sedentary
- Eat a high fiber diet (beans, legumes, brown rice, oatmeal, raspberries, artichokes)
- Drink coffee or tea
Diabetes has had a serious impact on the health of Americans. Now that you’re informed on what causes diabetes, be proactive against the disease and find out if you’re genetically predispositioned to the condition. For a doctor you can trust, request an appointment with GMP Medical today.