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Causes & Symptoms of Diabetes

Causes

A number of factors can cause diabetes. These factors depend upon the diabetes type & the individual. Two different forms of diabetes are commonly observed. They are Type 1 diabetes & Type 2 diabetes. Both the types have different causes.

Type-1 causes: This form of diabetes is caused due to destruction of the pancreatic cells (known as the beta cells) that produce insulin. The destruction of these cells is brought about by the action of the immune cells on the organ. These sorts of diseases are called auto-immune diseases. In such a condition, the body falsely identifies the useful cells as a foreign body.

The reason behind such an improper body response is not yet clear. However, a certain genetic relationship is often associated. Researchers have found genetic regions that are believed to cause this form of diabetes. These regions, numbering 18, have names like IDMM1. These regions have increased the probability of auto-immune diseases like celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis etc.

Although a vague idea about the cause has been attained, this genetic reason fails to explain the prevalence of this disease in different age-groups.

Type-2 causes: A concrete causes of this type has not been established. However, many factors that contribute to the disease have been found. It is believed that improper response to insulin may be the reason behind the development of the disease.

The following are the major contributing factors of type 2 diabetes:

  • Metabolic syndrome: The syndrome refers to the combination of disorders that result in diabetes & cardiovascular disease. The syndrome is known by different names such as Reaven's syndrome, syndrome X etc. Different organizations have different ways to defining metabolic syndrome, thought the factors associated with it remains the same.

    These contributing factors of metabolic syndrome are described below:

    • Glucose intolerance/ Insulin resistance: Refers to the condition in which the body can't effectively utilize glucose. Due to this reason, type 2 diabetes is also referred to as insulin resistant diabetes.
    • Obesity: Obesity is seen to affect the abdominal region. Accumulation of the excess tissues of fat in & around the abdomen is the prime feature of obesity. Obese people have more probability of developing type-2 diabetes.
    • Pro-inflammatory condition: The state corresponds to increased levels of C-reactive protein in the blood.
    • High blood pressure: As seen previously, higher quantities of glucose can lead to thickening of the blood vessels & arteries. The effect would be the onset of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis can result in high blood pressure. This is analogous to the condition where a narrower water pipe experiences more pressure than the wider one. The high pressure in the vessels can result in blood vessel damage, heart failure, stroke etc. Hence, diabetes is in a way correlated with these severe conditions.
    • Atherogenic dyslipidemia: Dyslipidemia is the abnormal lipid levels in the bloodstream. When dyslipidemia is caused due to the artery-narrowing, it becomes atherogenic dyslipidemia. Intra-abdominal obesity has an association with this condition. The main characteristics of this condition are reduced HDL levels (High Density Lipoproteins), higher LDL levels (Low Density Lipoproteins) and increased triglyceride levels. {HDL is considered to be good lipoproteins and a high HDL level is desirable. LDL, on the other hand, are bad lipoproteins and their count is to be kept minimum. A stipulated amount of triglycerides is to be maintained for a proper health.}
  • Having a close relative affected with type-2 diabetes.
  • Previous occurrence of gestational diabetes:

Symptoms

The major symptoms of diabetes are described here.

  1. Polyuria: This condition corresponds to the increased frequency & amount of urine. The volume of urine excreted during this condition is above 3litre per day.
  2. Slow healing: Appropriate healing is a process that requires a proper immune response over a period of time. Due to decreased blood supply, the action of the red blood cells is limited and this results in slower healing.
  3. Polydipsia: The excessive tendency to drink water is known as polydipsia. Frequent dryness of the mouth is the main reason for this.
  4. Polyphagia: Also known as hyperphagia, the condition refers to increased sensation to eat more often.
  5. Blurred vision: Any deviation from the normal sharpness of vision is called blurred vision.
  6. Fatigue: When a person is affected with diabetes, extreme tiredness may be experienced even after having the required amount of rest.
  7. Weight loss: A sudden and unexplained weight loss can be due to the prevalence of diabetes in an individual.
  8. Itchy sensation in the genitalia.

The symptoms of type 1 diabetes can develop in short period of time. The intensity of the disease also can increase in time. Compared to type-1 diabetes, type-2 diabetes occurs more slowly. It can take months or even years to develop type-2 diabetes. The gradual nature of this type makes it pretty much difficult to diagnose.