Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

There are many possible causes of type 2 diabetes, these range from:

  • Genetics
  • Environmental factors
  • Certain lifestyles
  • Systemic problems (e.g. problems with hormone production)

People with type 2 diabetes, tend not to have only one of these factors, but a mixture of them, i.e. they have genetic abnormalities together with central obesity (increased fat around the waist).

When we begin to consider the genetic inheritance of type 2 diabetes the scientific evidence becomes very complicated. Basically, because type 2 diabetes is usually due to both a decreased production of insulin together with a decrease in sensitivity of the receptors, there could be a whole host of genes that in some way contribute to the disease occuring. Recently scientists have recognised a number of genes that could be implicated in this process. These include genes that produce increased levels of fat in your blood stream, genes that control your pancreas (the organ that produces insulin) and finally genes that slow down your metabolism, leading to increased fat deposition.

A defect in any of these genes may go someway to aide you developing type 2 diabetes, however this is usually not enough by itself. To develop type 2 diabetes fully, it is likely that you will also need an input from the environment or your lifestyle. The most common secondary problem is defective insulin receptors on your muscle cells. This leads to very high levels of sugar within your blood, which can also increase the amount of fat you absorb and deposit on your body.

These factors can be further worsened by both poor diet and lack of activity, as this type of lifestyle can lead to the build up of fat around your waist. This is one of the major risk factors for the development of type 2 diabetes.

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