Diabetes is prevalent in our world much more than we even think about it. International Diabetes Federation has brought a shocking record of 463 million people all around world suffering from diabetes and 77 million from those belong to India. Around 7 million of diabetic people currently might not know that they are diabetic due to absence of signs and symptoms. This statistics of daily increasing number of diabetics is a serious issue. In this article we will learn about the causes of diabetes and role of hormones in its occurrence.
Diabetes occurs when pancreas does not produce enough amount of insulin or the body’s cells are not responsive to this insulin. Pancreas is the gland which works as both digestive and endocrine organ and produces insulin which helps to control blood glucose level by initiating the uptake of glucose by the liver, fat and muscles cells. This glucose in the cells is then converted into energy which is used by the body. But when this mechanism fails either due to insufficient or nil production of insulin by pancreas or resistance showed by body’s cells to the insulin, blood glucose level rises.
This is known as diabetes. Cause of diabetes can vary in different person depending upon the family history, genetic makeup, environmental condition, ethnicity, and health factors. A person can suffer from diabetes due to the different causes depending upon his/her type and individuality. This fact can be assessed by looking on the certain points like diabetes type 1 and type are caused due to completely different causes in which type 1 is an autoimmune condition of pancreas where it cannot produce enough insulin and type 2 is caused due to the insulin resistance of the cells of body. Similarly other types have different causes.
Type 1 diabetes
This type of diabetes is caused due to the inability of the pancreas to make sufficient insulin or even the insulin production can be nil. It is an autoimmune condition where due to abnormal functioning and targeting of the immune system results in destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas that produces the insulin. Hence, resulting in absence of insulin or insufficient insulin by the pancreas. No exact underlying cause is found behind this abnormal immune reaction of the body.
However some factors can be playing role like
- Bacterial or viral infection
- Long continued intake of food containing chemical toxins
- Unknown component resulting in abnormal autoimmune reaction of the body
- Underlying genetic predisposition is also found in many cases
Type 1 of diabetes is usually seen in the children due to which, it is also known as Juvenile diabetes. However, occurrence in adults can also not be ruled out.
Type 2 diabetes
This form of diabetes is the commonest one, occurring worldwide and affecting large group of people. In all the forms of diabetes, type 2 diabetes is found in 90-95% of diabetic people. Insulin resistance of the body’s cells is the main cause behind it. Cells of the body do not respond to the insulin and hence resulting in failure of transferring glucose from bloodstream to the cells. This form of diabetes is multifactorial which means it involves more than one causative factors, family history being at the top.
Certain risk factors increasing the chances of occurrence of type 2 diabetes are
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Family history
- Growing age
- Unhealthy diet
This form of diabetes is temporary and occurs during pregnancy. Usually the gestational diabetes is asymptomatic and hence it is diagnosed accidentally during the routine checkup of the to be mother during pregnancy. A woman having gestational diabetes needs to follow the special diet during rest of her pregnancy in order to prevent any complication. Even few women might require insulin during their disease course. Gestational diabetes is usually developed in the women having family history or who are overweight. Certain regional prevalence are also seen in this form of diabetes.
Women having a large or heavy baby and the one having history of PCOS are more prone to it. It generally goes away after the birth of the baby however such women who have developed the gestational diabetes in their pregnancy have increased risk of having type 2 diabetes in their later life.
Occurrence of this form of diabetes is very rare and it occurs due to the inheritance of the disease from parents. In Monogenic diabetes there is changes in single gene.
This is the condition when the blood sugar level of a person is higher than the normal range but under the diabetic range which means it is in borderline condition. This condition suggests that a person is prone to develop type 2 diabetes later in life and also can suffer from heart diseases. A huge number of people are prediabetic and they may even not know it because of absence of symptoms.
Other than the upper mentioned causes, there can be certain less common causes of diabetes as well like:
- Pancreatitis increases the risk of a person to develop diabetes
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome also prone a person to develop type 2 diabetes as it involves the overweight which is linked with insulin resistance. Hence, eventually predisposing a person to develop diabetes
- People suffering from glucagonoma have an imbalance between the amount of production of the insulin and production of glucagon, resulting in increased chances of having diabetes
- Cushing syndrome increases the production of cortisol hormone which eventually results in increased blood glucose level and hence increasing the risk of diabetes
- Prolonged use of certain steroids can results in steroid induced diabetes, however it is rare
All the causes of diabetes are very clear and understanding always help in managing and treating the disease well. Diabetes be it of any type can be managed with proper diet and lifestyle changes. However, regular check on basic levels of markers is a smart idea and can help in managing the condition and preventing complications.
Managing diabetes is an art not science!
Dr. Vikram Chauhan (MD-Ayurveda) is an expert Ayurvedic Doctor based in Chandigarh, India, and doing his practice in Mohali, India. He is spreading the knowledge of Ayurveda – Ancient healing treatment, not only in India but also abroad. He is the CEO and Founder of Planet Ayurveda Products, Planet Ayurveda Clinic, and Krishna Herbal Company.