What Causes Diabetes?
According to the American Diabetes Association, type 1 and type 2 diabetes start when "You inherit a predisposition to the disease and then something in your environment triggers it."
Here's how the body normally works. Food digests into sugar (called glucose). Glucose travels through the blood to your cells. An organ called the pancreas senses the glucose and releases insulin. Insulin is a "key" that "unlocks" the cells to let the glucose in for energy and nutrition.
With Type 1, the body's own immune system kills the insulin producing cells. Insulin isn't made, cells aren't unlocked and the glucose stays in the blood.
A condition called insulin resistance (IR) causes type 2. Cells become "resistant" to insulin so more of it is needed. IR gets worse over time, so the pancreas works ever harder and eventually wears out. The cells need more insulin and the pancreas can't keep up so the glucose stays in the blood.
People think being overweight, sedentary and/or eating too much sugar causes diabetes, but this isn't true. In fact, only about 1 in 7 overweight people ever become diabetic while many thin people do.
We do not know how to prevent the immune disorder that causes type 1 or the insulin resistance that underlies type 2.
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