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What causes diabetes? What is the difference between the different types?

Smartliving Guest asked this
June 9, 2011 at 3:32 PM



Diabetes Mellitus which is often referred to as “diabetes,” or “sugar diabetes” can be cause by several different metabolic diseases. It occurs when a person’s blood sugar is too high. This can occur in two general ways: either a person is not making enough insulin, or the cells are not responding to insulin the way they should.

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that lets glucose (sugar) in the blood stream be taken into cells. Glucose is one of the main forms of sugar in the body, all the cells in our body need glucose for normal cellular function.

There are four major types of diabetes variations:

  1.    Type 1 Diabetes, formally known as juvenile onset diabetes, occurs when the pancreas is not producing normal amounts of insulin.  This typically occurs when a person (often a child) have an auto-immune response where their immune system attacks the insulin producing cells of the pancreas.  This leaves a person unable to produce his or her own insulin.  If a person does not have insulin to let the glucose go into the cells, a person can have extremely high blood sugar levels, but still have cells that are starving for glucose).
  2.    Type 2 Diabetes, formally known as adult onset diabetes.  This occurs when cells become less sensitive to insulin.  The body produces more and more insulin to compensate, but the amount of glucose in the blood stream remains too high.  The older we are the more likely we are to become resistant to insulin.  Also, the more fat in our bodies, the more likely we are to become resistant to insulin.
  3.    Gestational Diabetes, or diabetes in pregnancy occurs when a woman who did not previously have diabetes develops high blood sugar in pregnancy.
  4.    Steroid Induced Diabetes, being on corticosteroids can cause insulin resistance and cause diabetes while on the medications.

Stay Healthy, Dr. Jeff M.D.

Dr. Jeff Chamberlain, MD Health Coach answered
June 9, 2011 at 3:55 PM
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