What causes diabetes is a lack of production or effectiveness of the body’s insulin. Insulin is necessary for the delivery of sugar to the body’s cells. When the effectiveness or amount of insulin is lacking, the level of sugar, or glucose, in the blood rises. High blood sugar levels are detrimental to the health of the affected individual.
Causes of diabetes coincide with the types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is caused by a failure of the pancreas to produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes is also called juvenile diabetes. Due to the lack of insulin, the diabetic patient with type 1 diabetes must take insulin. This can be done with individual injections of insulin or insulin pump therapy.
Some physicians believe that type 1 diabetes may be caused by exposure to a virus either prior to birth or in childhood. Though the exact cause is unknown, a genetic influence or response to a virus causes the immune system to attack the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. The pancreas is responsible for the production of insulin. When the insulin-producing cells sustain damage or are destroyed, the individual is left with little or no insulin.
The cause of type 2 diabetes is an increased resistance to the effects of the body’s insulin. Type 2 diabetes can result if the pancreas begins producing less insulin than usual. The onset of type 2 diabetes occurs during adulthood. It is sometimes called noninsulin dependent diabetes since it can often be controlled by following a diabetic diet and exercise.
The cause of gestational diabetes is a resistance to insulin during pregnancy. The placenta produces hormones that can make the pregnant woman’s body more resistant to insulin than usual. If the pregnant woman’s pancreas fails to compensate by producing extra insulin, she develops gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is usually controllable with a gestational diabetes diet and exercise.