Why diabetes is on a rise: causes and risk factors of diabetes

According to the International Diabetes Federation, as of 2010, over 280 million persons had diabetes all over the world. The statistic of persons with diabetes has increased significantly since then. Diabetes is thus one of the metabolic disorders with a high public health significance.

The worldwide prevalence of diabetes has been linked to several factors and these factors are considered below. The different types of diabetes are associated with specific causes and risk factors and they are considered accordingly in this article.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is the type of diabetes that is associated with the inability of the body to secrete insulin. Insulin is secreted by the B cells of the pancreas. The pancreatic B cells are usually destroyed in persons with diabetes type 1. Since persons with diabetes cannot produce insulin naturally, they make do with exogenous insulin that is available commercially.

The risk factors for type 1 diabetes include family history and certain infections and diseases that destroy the pancreatic cells. Mutated genes that cause the destruction of the B cells can be inherited. Also, the pancreatic cells can be destroyed by diseases thus affecting its ability to produce insulin.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a form of diabetes that results from an inability of the body to properly utilize the insulin secreted. In this case, endogenous insulin is produced but it doesn’t function properly, and this could lead to insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes usually develops later in life and is typically noticed in persons that are over 40 years.

Since this type of diabetes is related to lifestyle, there are several risk factors associated with it. Leading a sedentary lifestyle makes one prone to type 2 diabetes. Persons that are obese and overweight are also more prone to diabetes type 2 than persons with healthier weights. Also, certain ethnic groups are more predisposed to diabetes type 2 than others. These ethnic groups include African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans. Genetics also plays a role in the development of diabetes type 2.

It is also noteworthy that persons that develop gestational diabetes may also develop diabetes type 2 as they are more prone to diabetes type 2 because of the previous episode of gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes

As the name suggests, this type of diabetes is associated with pregnancy. This type of diabetes develops in women who previously had a healthy blood sugar level before they got pregnant. The high blood sugar in the mother may also cause high blood sugar in the fetus and lead to developmental problems such as macrosomia, the development of large organs.

Several risk factors are specifically associated with gestational diabetes. One of such risk factors is increased maternal age. Obesity and genetics can also predispose a person to diabetes.

Although there is a need for more research to understand the prevalence of diabetes better, the factors highlighted above predispose one to the different types of diabetes.


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