Common Causes of Diabetes

When you eat, your body breaks down your food into blood sugar, or glucose, for energy. Diabetes is a disease that affects your body’s ability to make or use insulin, the hormone that helps your body convert blood sugar into energy. If left untreated, this condition can lead to serious health complications.

At Integrative Primary Care in Houston, Syed Farhat Zaidi, MD, and Saba Jafri, MD, help patients manage their diabetes and lead healthy lives. Our integrative approach combines medical interventions with lifestyle changes to ensure your optimal wellness. 

If you’re concerned about diabetes, we’ve created this guide to help explain the different types and frequent causes of the two most common forms of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes usually develops in childhood or young adulthood. This autoimmune disorder stops the body from being able to produce insulin, which is the hormone that helps the body convert blood sugar to energy. 

Without insulin, blood sugar can build up to dangerously high levels and cause many serious side effects, even death. Only about 5% of all people with diabetes in the United States have Type 1 diabetes, and they must take insulin to live.

Causes of Type 1 diabetes

Researchers still aren’t sure what causes Type 1 diabetes. While the disease is an autoimmune condition, meaning your body’s own immune system attacks the pancreas, what triggers this isn’t well understood. Possible causes include genetics and exposure to triggering factors, such as viruses or things in the environment. 

Type 2 diabetes

The vast majority — more than 95% of Americans with diabetes — have Type 2 diabetes. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, which causes your body to stop producing insulin, people with Type 2 diabetes produce too much insulin. 

This leads to insulin resistance, which means you can’t convert blood sugar to energy. Your body responds by creating more insulin, but since your body can’t use the insulin, you end up with too much glucose in your blood.   

Causes of Type 2 diabetes

Some people who develop Type 2 diabetes have a genetic predisposition for the disease. It’s not usually DNA alone that triggers Type 2 diabetes, however, but a combination of factors that affect how the body operates at a cellular level. 

Certain factors can help doctors identify if you’re at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, including:

Unlike Type 1 diabetes, which does not have a cure, Type 2 diabetes is often fully reversible if you make lifestyle changes that help your body balance blood sugar naturally and use the insulin you have correctly.  

Managing diabetes

Our care team at Integrative Primary Care can help you stay on top of your health and manage your diabetes. First, we’ll give you a thorough evaluation. Then we’ll design a plan to help you control your diabetes. This may include:

We’ll also work with you to create a realistic, manageable lifestyle plan that may include weight loss, physical exercise, and nutrition counseling. 

If you have diabetes and want help controlling it, or if you want to see if you have diabetes, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Integrative Primary Care today.

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