What Causes Diabetes?

What Causes Diabetes
The role of glucose – Glucose — a sugar — is a source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and other tissues.

Glucose comes from two major sources: food and the liver. Sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, where it enters cells with the help of insulin. The liver stores and makes glucose. When glucose levels are low, such as when you haven’t eaten in a while, the liver breaks down stored glycogen into glucose. This keeps your glucose level within a typical range.

The exact cause of most types of diabetes is unknown. In all cases, sugar builds up in the bloodstream. This is because the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes may be caused by a combination of genetic or environmental factors. It is unclear what those factors may be.

Can you get diabetes from eating too much sugar?

Does sugar cause diabetes? – There are two main types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2 diabetes. We know that sugar does not cause type 1 diabetes, nor is it caused by anything else in your lifestyle. In type 1 diabetes, the insulin producing cells in your pancreas are destroyed by your immune system.

  • With type 2 diabetes, the answer is a little more complex.
  • Though we know sugar doesn’t directly cause type 2 diabetes, you are more likely to get it if you are overweight.
  • You gain weight when you take in more calories than your body needs, and sugary foods and drinks contain a lot of calories.
  • So you can see if too much sugar is making you put on weight, then you are increasing your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

But type 2 diabetes is complex, and sugar is unlikely to be the only reason the condition develops. We also know that sugar sweetened drinks, like canned soft drinks, are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and this is not necessarily linked to their effect on body weight.

Can early diabetes go away?

Type 2 diabetes, in which the body doesn’t use insulin properly, is on the rise in the United States. There are more than 35 million people with the condition, and many are diagnosed when they are young, even in adolescence. Perhaps more astonishing—and worrying—is that prediabetes, the condition that leads to type 2 diabetes, now affects 96 million people.

  1. That’s one in three of us.
  2. The good news is that prediabetes can be seen as a warning sign—it’s the body’s way of saying that your insulin levels are rising, but you can still reverse it before developing type 2 diabetes.
  3. And reversing the process is key because type 2 diabetes can be a devastating disease.

The condition usually begins with insulin resistance, in which the fat, liver, and muscle cells do not use insulin properly, so that eventually the body needs more insulin than it can produce, causing blood glucose to rise. And those elevated levels can lead to a number of serious health issues if they are not managed properly.

The problem is that you may not even know you have prediabetes or diabetes—you can be symptom-free for years. But once the complications of diabetes start to occur, nearly every aspect of your health can be affected. That’s because the excessive sugar in your blood is damaging to blood vessels and nerves throughout your body.

So, how do you know if you have prediabetes? Can children get it? How can you reverse it? Below, Yale Medicine experts answer these commonly asked questions (and more) about prediabetes.

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What is silent diabetes?

Be on the lookout for signs and symptoms – “Characterized by high levels of sugar in the blood, diabetes is a dangerous and destructive disease,” says Dennis Ferrer, MD, a board-certified physician specializing in Endocrinology at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.

“Diabetes starts as a silent disease, advancing painlessly, almost imperceptibly,” says Dr. Ferrer, who sees 25 to 30 diabetic patients per week. “It mainly attacks the small blood vessels, damaging the kidneys, eyes, and nerves.” It can also affect larger blood vessels. “Patients often don’t realize that coronary artery disease is associated with high levels of blood sugar,” Dr.

Ferrer says. “Diabetes and its associated conditions can cause coronary arteries to become inflamed, narrowed, or obstructed, thus setting the stage for a heart attack or stroke.” Type 1 diabetes most often is diagnosed in childhood and young adulthood.

It’s characterized by the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin. Although not curable, it can be managed with insulin injections and diet. During Type 2 diabetes, typically occurring at a more mature age, the pancreas is initially able to produce insulin, but the body’s cells don’t use the glucose properly, causing metabolic problems, including blackouts.

Type 2 diabetes is usually preventable. Obesity, for example, increases the risk. But heredity may also be a contributing factor. Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include chronic fatigue, excessive thirst, and frequent, sleep-interrupting incidents of nighttime urination.

How quickly can you get diabetes?

About Prediabetes & Type 2 Diabetes There are 96 million American adults who have prediabetes – that’s 1 in 3 adults! Of those 96 million, more than 8 in 10 of them don’t even know they have it. Without taking action, many people with prediabetes could develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.

  • With numbers like that, it’s important to learn about prediabetes and take action.
  • Take our to find out if you are at risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
  • A print version of the is also available.
  • Having prediabetes means your blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal—but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.

Prediabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes. Prediabetes can often be reversed. What Causes Diabetes With type 2 diabetes, your body cannot properly use insulin (a hormone that helps glucose get into the cells of the body). You can get type 2 diabetes at any age, but you are at higher risk if you are older, overweight, have a family history of diabetes, are not physically active, or are a woman who had gestational diabetes.

  1. Gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that some women get when they are pregnant.
  2. Even if a woman’s blood sugar levels go down after her baby is born, she is at higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes later in life.
  3. With type 1 diabetes, your body cannot make insulin, so you need to take insulin every day.

Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2; approximately 5-10% of the people who have diabetes have type 1. Currently, no one knows how to prevent type 1 diabetes. If you want to learn more about the basics of diabetes and prediabetes, you can visit,

You are overweight. You are 45 years of age or older. Your parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes. You are physically active fewer than 3 times per week. You ever gave birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds. You ever had diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes).

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Race and ethnicity also affect your risk. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at particularly high risk for type 2 diabetes. Following are the percentage of people in the United States with diagnosed diabetes from 2018 to 2019:

Non-Hispanic Blacks – 12.1% Hispanics – 11.8% Non-Hispanic Asians – 9.5% Non-Hispanic Whites – 7.4%

If you are at risk, talk to a health care professional about getting a blood sugar test. Diabetes Is Serious and Common Diabetes is currently the seventh leading cause of death in the United States—and studies show that deaths related to diabetes may be under-reported! Today, 1 in 10 U.S. adults has diabetes, and if trends continue, 1 in 5 will have it by 2025. An additional 96 million U.S.

Heart attack Stroke Blindness Kidney failure Loss of toes, feet, or legs

Diabetes Is Costly Type 2 diabetes affects millions of individuals and their families, workplaces, and the U.S. health care system. In 2017, the total cost of care for people with diagnosed diabetes was $327 billion, up 33% over a 5-year period. About 1 in 4 health care dollars is spent on people with diagnosed diabetes. The majority of expenses are related to hospitalizations and medications used to treat complications of diabetes. People diagnosed with diabetes incur on average $16,750 annually in medical expenses. That’s about 2.3 times the medical expenses of a person without diabetes. The need to prevent type 2 diabetes has never been greater. If you have prediabetes, a CDC-recognized lifestyle change program is one of the most effective ways to prevent getting type 2 diabetes. It can help you lose weight, become more active, and prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. To learn more, visit ? If you’re not sure if you’re at risk, take this or ask your health care professional about getting a blood sugar test. A print version of the is also available. Albright A, Gregg EW. Preventing type 2 diabetes in communities across the US: the National Diabetes Prevention Program. Am J Prev Med 2013;44(4):S346-S351. Available from Boyle JP, Thompson TJ, Gregg EW, Barker LE, Williamson DF. (2010). Projection of the year 2050 burden of diabetes in the US adult population: dynamic modeling of incidence, mortality, and prediabetes prevalence. Population Health Metrics. Available from, Knowler WC, Barrett-Conner E, Fowler SE, et al.; Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention or metformin. N Engl J Med 2002;346:393–403. Available from, American Diabetes Association. Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2017. Diabetes Care 2018;41(5):917-928. Available from : About Prediabetes & Type 2 Diabetes

Does salt cause diabetes?

Reduce your risk – Although salt does not affect blood glucose levels, it’s important to limit the amount you eat as part of your diabetes management because too much salt can raise your blood pressure. People with diabetes are more likely to be affected by high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

Can lack of sleep cause diabetes?

Sleep for a Good Cause What Causes Diabetes Getting good sleep is important for your mind, your body, and your diabetes. There are many reasons to get a good night’s sleep. If you have diabetes, there are even more. Learn how sleep affects your diabetes management. A good night’s sleep can feel like a luxury.

  1. Balancing school, work, physical activity, and your family may cause you to go to bed later than you’d like.
  2. One in three US adults isn’t getting enough sleep, and over time, this can increase the risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression.
  3. If you have diabetes, too little sleep negatively affects every area of your management, including how much you eat, what you choose to eat, how you respond to insulin, and your mental health.
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Proper rest isn’t just important for your diabetes management—it may also put you in a better mood and give you more energy!

Can alcohol cause diabetes?

Drinking alcohol can contribute to the conditions that cause diabetes – There are three main ways drinking alcohol to excess can be a factor in causing diabetes:

  1. Regular heavy drinking can reduce the body’s sensitivity to insulin, which can trigger type 2 diabetes
  2. Diabetes is a common side effect of chronic pancreatitis, which may be caused by heavy drinking 3
  3. Alcoholic drinks often contain a lot of calories – for instance, one pint of lager is equivalent to a slice of pizza. So, drinking increases your chance of becoming overweight or obese, which raises your risk of developing type 2 diabetes 4

Is your drinking causing you harm? Find out with our DrinkCompare Quiz

Who is at risk for diabetes?

Prediabetes – You’re at risk for prediabetes if you:

Are overweight. Are 45 years or older. Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes. Are physically active less than 3 times a week. Have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed over 9 pounds. Are an African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian, or Alaska Native person. Some Pacific Islander and Asian American people are also at higher risk.

You can prevent or reverse prediabetes with proven lifestyle changes. These include losing weight if you’re overweight, eating a healthy diet, and getting regular physical activity, The CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program can help you make healthy changes that have lasting results.

How do you catch diabetes?

What causes type 1 diabetes? – Type 1 diabetes occurs when your immune system, the body’s system for fighting infection, attacks and destroys the insulin -producing beta cells of the pancreas, Scientists think type 1 diabetes is caused by genes and environmental factors, such as viruses, that might trigger the disease.

Can diabetics ever go back to normal?

We don’t call it diabetes reversal, because this might sound like it’s permanent, and there’s no guarantee that your diabetes has gone forever. – But yes, it may be possible to put your type 2 diabetes into remission, This is when your blood sugar levels are below the diabetes range and you don’t need to take diabetes medication anymore. This could be life-changing.

Am I pre diabetic?

You would be diagnosed with prediabetes if: Your fasting plasma glucose test is 100 to 125 mg/dL (normal is

What foods should you avoid to prevent diabetes?

Some basics to get started: – Choose these foods and drinks less often:

  • Processed foods such as packaged snacks, packaged meat, chips, granola bars, sweets, and fast foods
  • Trans fat, found in things such as margarine, snack food, packaged baked goods, and many fried foods
  • Sugary drinks such as fruit juice, sports drinks, and soda
  • Alcohol

For more ideas, see

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