What Causes Diabetes | Types of Diabetes?

Before getting into the topic let’s see how your body processes the food you eat, in order to provide all your body cells with the energy they need. And also what happens to the energy when you have diabetes and the system doesn’t work properly.

When you eat food that contains carbohydrates, its broken down in the stomach and digestive system, into glucose, which is a type of sugar. Our body needs glucose from food because that’s what gives us energy. Carbohydrate containing foods are things like Sugary foods, Starchy foods and some dairy products, and fruit. This glucose then moves into the blood stream and the body detects that the blood glucose level is rising.

What Causes Diabetes | Types of Diabetes?
What Causes Diabetes | Types of Diabetes?

In response to that, the pancreas, a little gland that sits just underneath the stomach, starts to release a hormone called “Insulin”. It’s insulin which helps our body to get energy from the food we eat.  The blood stream then takes the glucose and the insulin to every cell in our body that needs it. To make this easier to understand let’s talk about the muscle cells. At the muscle cells, it’s insulin that allows the glucose to get into the cells, where it can be used for energy. It’s a bit like insulin is a key unlocking the door to the cells, so the glucose can get in. In that way, the glucose level starts to decrease but the blood glucose level can be topped up at any point by the liver releasing extra glucose that it has stored.

The blood glucose rises again and again the pancreas produces more insulin to move with that glucose through the blood stream to the muscle cells, open the doors, and let the glucose in.

The body functions better with blood at an optimum level. It doesn’t like it if the blood glucose rises too high. Normally there is a cycle within the body which balances out the glucose and the insulin level and this is achieved by the food you eat, the pancreas and the liver.


However, for some people, the system doesn’t work properly and they will develop diabetes. Mainly there were two types of diabetes, Type-I and Type-II.

What Causes Diabetes | Types of Diabetes?
What Causes Diabetes | Types of Diabetes?

Type – I Diabetes:

In type I diabetes, the body isn’t making any insulin at all. This is because of an auto-immune response whereby the body has destroyed the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. We don’t entirely know why that happens in some people and not in others. About 15% of all cases falls into Type I diabetes. The most common type found in childhood. In Type-I diabetes the carbohydrate-containing food is broken down into glucose as normal. That glucose then moves into the blood stream. Normally, the body would produce insulin to let that glucose into the cells, but in type I diabetes, there is no insulin being produced so the glucose can’t get into the body cells at all. So the level of glucose in the blood rises and rises. The body then tries to decrease the level of glucose; it tries to get rid of the glucose through the kidneys. That’s why people who have undiagnosed type I diabetes tend to go the toilet a lot to pass urine.

The kidneys filter the glucose out of the blood and also take a lot of water with it, so the person with diabetes will get very thirsty. The urine contains more of glucose which creates an environment where it’s quite easy for bacteria to thrive, so it’s also quite common to get thrush or genital itching. Likewise, the blood haves a high level of glucose as well, so more bacteria than usual will tend to breed in flesh wounds, and they might be slow to heal.


Glucose can also build up in the lens at the front of the eye causing the liquid in the lens to become cloudy. That can mean that some people with undiagnosed type I diabetes can have blurred vision. Because the glucose can’t get into the cells to be used for energy, somebody who’s got undiagnosed type I diabetes is going to start feeling very tired, lethargic and unable to go about their normal daily routine. But the body still needs an energy source in order to work properly. So what it does is, it starts to break down its fat stores and that can lead to weight loss.

What Causes Diabetes | Types of Diabetes?
What Causes Diabetes | Types of Diabetes?

Type – II Diabetes:

Over 85% of people falls under type – II diabetes. It is a little more complex because there’s slightly more processes at work. Either the body isn’t producing quite enough insulin, or the insulin it is producing isn’t working properly. That can be due to overweight, because a build-up of fat can stop insulin doing its job properly but it can also happen in people of a healthy weight.

So in type- II diabetes, the carbohydrate containing food is broken down into glucose in the stomach and digestive system as normal. That glucose then moves into the blood stream. The pancreas starts to produce insulin, which moves with the glucose through the blood stream to all the body cells which need glucose for energy. However, the glucose can’t always get into the cells because the locks to the cell doors have become furred up with fat deposits. That means that the insulin can’t open the cell doors properly. So the level of glucose in the blood continues to rise.

In response to this, the pancreas produces even more insulin, so the blood glucose levels continue to rise and the insulin levels continue to rise. This situation is further complicated by the cells, who are desperate for energy, sending out emergency signals to the liver to release stored glucose. The blood glucose level goes up and up and the pancreas produces more and more insulin, until it can’t cope anymore and eventually it wears out.

The symptoms of type – II diabetes come along very slowly and some people don’t have any symptom at all. So, for that reason, people can live with type II diabetes for up to 10 years before that realize that they have it. Type II diabetes can be treated in a number of different ways. Initially It may be sufficient to make changes to the food you’re eating and to take extra physical activity or lose any weight that be appropriate.


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