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Causes of Diabetes Mellitus

written by: DulceCorazon • edited by: lrohner • updated: 9/20/2010

Causes of Diabetes Mellitus vary depending on the type of diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, there is damage to the cells of the pancreas due to the abnormal function of the immune system. Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes are mostly caused by lifestyle factors.

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    Diabetes Mellitus, known simply as diabetes, is a metabolic disease caused by insulin deprivity or the inability of cells to respond to insulin in the body. Increased hunger, increased thirst and frequent urination are the most common symptoms of diabetes. The three main types of diabetes are type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. The causes of diabetes mellitus are dependent on what type of diabetes it is.

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    Type 1 Diabetes

    In type 1 diabetes, the amount of insulin in the body is low or absent due to the pancreas' inability to produce an appropriate amount of insulin. This is because the body's immune system has destroyed the beta cells which produce insulin in the pancreas.

    Type 1 diabetes is often referred to as juvenile diabetes because it is more common among children and in young adults. The cause of type 1 diabetes is believed to be genetic, although it is believed that environmental factors or certain infections may be linked.

    The presence of Type 1 diabetes in a parent does not necessarily mean that the child will develop type 1 diabetes. In twins, it is possible to have one twin develop diabetes while the other does not, reinforcing the belief that environmental factors are at play.

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    Type 2 Diabetes

    Genetics may also play a part in the onset of type 2 diabetes. However, it is more often caused by various lifestyle factors, such as obesity, smoking and inactivity.

    Obesity causes the body to become less resistance to the actions of insulin, thus blood sugar levels are frequently high. Eating foods with a high content of simple carbohydrates or sugar also increases the level of sugar in the blood. Because of this, the kidneys may not be able to filter all of them, resulting in the presence of sugar in the urine. Some patients may know they have diabetes when they undergo urine analysis for routine and other check-up, and find that their urine has tested positive for sugar.

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    Gestational Diabetes

    Gestational diabetes has a lot in common with Type 2 diabetes. It has the same causes, but the primary reason for the onset of this diabetes gives it its distinction. This type of diabetes occurs during pregnancy when glucose levels get pretty high. If not treated immediately, this can cause the mother to develop Type 2 diabetes later in her life even if she has not had diabetes before pregnancy. Severe cases may also lead to prenatal death. There are several measures that a mother with diabetes during pregnancy can follow in order to prevent this condition from happening again on the next pregnancy.

    These are the most common causes of diabetes mellitus. Since some forms of diabetes are considered a lifestyle disease, it can be prevented and controlled. It can affect anyone, that's why health experts often encourage the population to practice healthy practices in daily life.

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    References

    MedicineNet.com: Diabetes Mellitus

    MERCK: Diabetes Mellitus