Can teenagers get diabetes?


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Diabetes can develop at any age as there are numerous different types that occur for slightly different reasons. Type I diabetes is more commonly diagnosed in children and teenagers because it is caused by a defect in your immune system that is generally there from birth. The defect causes one of the cells of your immune system to attack the insulin producing cells of your pancreas so that they are no longer able to produce insulin. The onset of type I diabetes can be initiated by a simple virus that activates these defected immune cells into action and this is when it occurs in teenagers (instead of occurring earlier on in life).  In addition, teenagers can get type II diabetes although the risk of developing type II diabetes increases with age. If you are a teenager then you will be at a greater risk of developing type II diabetes if your mother had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy), you smoke, drink a lot of alcohol and have an unhealthy diet with limited exercise. These factors could cause your body to become resistant to the insulin that it produces and thus cause you to develop type II diabetes. In addition to this, if you become pregnant as a teenager then you might also develop gestational diabetes (especially if diabetes runs in your family). 


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