What are the causes of diabetes mellitus? Wow, where do I start. This question is very difficult to answer as the diabetes causes are not really fully known and understood. What is known is that there are some possible triggers that may spark a reaction which in the end leads to diabetes. Each of these factors or triggers or causes will be talked about individually.
What is known is that diabetes is among a group of metabolic disorders which is characterised by high blood sugar levels.
These high blood sugar levels are as a result of either insufficient amounts of insulin or too much abnormal insulin or the cells of the body are resistant to the insulin that is produced. Are you confused yet? Well, diabetes is simply as a result of something malfunctioning within the glucose to energy conversion process.
The bad news is if it is left untreated it will lead to organ damage or organ failure. In fact, the most significant cause of diabetes sufferers’ deaths are heart related illnesses as a result of the complications of diabetes. The good news is that diabetes can be effectively controlled. How can diabetes be controlled? It can be controlled simply by controlling the blood sugar levels- keeping it within the normal range.
By controlling blood sugar levels the complications of diabetes will definitely not be an issue for you to confront. The different types of diabetes are dependent on what part of the metabolic system that is not functioning properly and the timing. In the following pages we will go through the causes of diabetes mellitus type 1 and also the cause of diabetes mellitus type 2. Hopefully your questions would be answered or at least you would have a bit more information
Causes of diabetes mellitus Type 1
Do you know the causes of diabetes mellitus type 1? Well, if you do you could set a lot of people free as scientists are baffled. They do not know what the exactly cause of diabetes type 1 is. What is known is that in diabetes mellitus type 1 the pancreas, that lovely little organ behind the stomach which is responsible for insulin production, has resigned.
It ceases production of the vital insulin hormone or if it does produce insulin it produces it in miniscule quantities. Why would the pancreas stop producing insulin or produce it in very small quantities?
Some explanations offered by scientist for the causes of diabetes mellitus are that it may be as a result of:
- Autoimmune response –the immune system mistook the beta cells for some form of virus
- Heredity – heredity and genetics play a role as some people seem to be predisposed to the disease. This predisposition may be triggered by some environmental factors.
- Abnormality- the pancreas may be underdeveloped at birth or may even be born without a proper functioning pancreas (this is rare)
- Virus – infection with a specific virus or bacteria (mumps)
- Exposure to food-borne chemical toxins
- Drinking of cow’s milk as an infant (before three months old)
Diabetes type 1 definitely is not caused by poor diet (eating lots of cake and ice cream). However when diagnosed different foods will have different effect on the body and effectively on the amount of insulin that would be necessary to maintain proper glucose levels. It is important that you know all about the Type1 diabetes symptoms.
Cause of diabetes mellitus type 2
The cause of diabetes type 2 can be a bit misleading sometimes especially with the conflicting information being promoted by different bodies just to get their products off the shelves. They are not totally telling a lie but it is not the whole truth.
Before I go into that juicy information let me just say that this type of diabetes is actually called by a few different names over the years. Names like; adult onset diabetes, non insulin dependent diabetes, maturity onset diabetes, stable diabetes and of course type 2 diabetes mellitus.
I guess all those names were useful to confuse us all. I don’t know but if I am privy to that information in the future I will let you in on the secret.
Ok back to topic, Type 2 diabetes affects about ninety to ninety five percent of all diabetics. The world health organisation suggested that as much as 1 in 20 people worldwide are diabetic or about five percent of the world’s population. That’s a whole lot of people.
Enough said about diabetes facts and figures. Back to the cause of diabetes type 2, we are lead to believe that all you have to do is exercise and eat right and boom no diabetes.
If that was the case why is my friend being diagnosed with diabetes? He eats right and exercise plus he is very skinny. The truth is they are significant risk factors but there are other major risk factors that play a role and must be considered.
These additional risk factors which may be responsible for the causes of diabetes mellitus include:
Some people just seem to be predisposed to having diabetes. However this faulty gene is normally triggered by some external factor which includes environmental factors or lifestyle factors. Read about diabetes statistics on genetics >>
Environment / lifestyle
These environmental factors involve anything in the environment. These factors are most times within our control like diet, exercise and so on.
Insulin abnormalities – insulin resistance
Insulin abnormality can also be an issue where the insulin produce is abnormal and don’t work properly. On the other hand the cells of the body may be resistant to the insulin hormone.
Over production of glucose by the liver
If the body is insulin resistant the cells are starved of glucose. When this happen the body thinks it is does not have enough glucose to use for energy so the liver is instructed to convert stored glycogen into glucose.
This causes the glucose levels to rise even higher resulting in diabetes overtime.
An inactive lifestyle does not on its own contribute to diabetes. If you are inactive the chances of you getting obese has increased and as you know obesity is one of the major trigger factor of diabetes.
Obesity seems to be a major risk factor of diabetes as over eighty percent of all diabetics and obese. This being said not all diabetics are obese.
It therefore seems to be that obesity may be one of the environmental factors that trigger the onset of diabetes.
Causes of gestational diabetes mellitus
No-one knows exactly why some women develop gestational diabetes and others don’t. You are more likely at risk if you:
- You have a family history of gestational diabetes (i.e. mother, grandmother , sister or aunt had it)
- you have previously given birth to a large baby (weighing over 4.5kg/10 lb)
- you have previously had a stillbirth
- you are overweight or obese
- have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
How is gestational diabetes Diagnosis?
Gestational diabetes is normally diagnosed with a glucose tolerance test. This test needs to be carried out in the morning before breakfast [12 hours fasting]. Your doctor will give you a sugary solution of glucose to drink. He or she will then take blood samples at different one hourly interval to see how your body deals with the glucose over time.
You will normally be offered a glucose tolerance test if you are a high risk candidate. High risk of developing gestational diabetes is determined by whether or not you are or have experience any of the causes of diabetes listed above.
This only affects about four percent of pregnancy and therefore the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) doesn’t recommend routine screening. However some doctors and midwives do test urine for sugar at antenatal visits. A glucose tolerance test may be given if they are concerned that you may be at risk of developing gestational diabetes.
These are only some assumptions as to the causes of diabetes mellitus. The specific causes of diabetes mellitus in each case of diabetes cannot be ascertained. If groups of people are exposed to the same conditions not all will develop diabetes.