When you think of diabetes, the foremost thought in your head will be of platters of doughnuts, cupcakes and tubs of velvety ice cream. There is a tendency to associate sugar with diabetes. But that is not always the case. There are other causes of type 1 and type 2 diabetes as follows:

Causes of Diabetes Related Diseases

  1. Stress
Your body produces stress hormones called cortisol, which affects the glucose levels

Stress and diabetes are interrelated. Your body produces stress hormones called cortisol, which affects the glucose levels. The process begins when you experience physical, mental or emotional stress. For example, physical pain such as an injury or illness. Furthermore, emotional or mental stress caused by work, family or negative thoughts also leads to anxiety and stress.

Subsequently, the hypothalamus of your brain signals to your adrenal glands (which is located above your kidneys) to release two hormones into your bloodstream as a part of the fight-or-flight response system. One of these two hormones is epinephrine, responsible for regulating blood sugar. It will create glucose from glycogen stored in the muscle cells and liver when blood sugar levels reduce. Therefore, the blood glucose level will not fluctuate when you are stressed. This is necessary as your body requires more energy in the form of glucose to support higher activity levels during stressful situations.

However, constant repetition of this process will diminish your body’s ability to manage blood sugar levels. This may lead to hypoglycemia, which is low blood sugar. Meanwhile, adrenal fatigue and failure are possible effects as well.

Cushing syndrome is an uncommon, stress-related diabetes condition. This may occur as a result of high cortisol production in the body (rare cases) or use of steroids. Young women are prone to this, while the symptoms include weight gain and higher body fat.

2. Inadequate sleep

Not getting enough sleep pushes your body into a pre-diabetic state. There is evidence supporting that sleep deprivation is similar to insulin resistance. This implies that the body cells cannot process the hormone efficiently, causing blood sugar to rise. Meanwhile, poor sleep makes you tired, forcing you to seek instant sources of energy such as food containing high-sugar. This contributes to diabetes.

3. Obesity & overweight

One of the top causes of diabetes is obesity. One theory relates to metabolism. This can cause lower insulin sensitivity because the fat tissues release fat molecules into the blood. This impacts the insulin levels. Those with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes end up with a higher body fat to muscle ratio. On the other hand, another theory states that obesity leads to prediabetes, which may then escalate to type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, metabolic syndrome is another condition that may increase the chances of type 2 diabetes

4. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a condition that affects 5-10 percent of women. It is one of the main causes of female infertility. This is linked to symptoms such as irregular periods, male-pattern hair growth, acne and weight gain. However, the impact varies from one woman to another. It can be managed but not completely cured.

Moreover, PCOS results in insulin resistance and high insulin levels in the blood. Therefore, it is associated with higher susceptibility for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Experts recommend women with PCOS to undergo diabetes screening more often as it is a high risk factor.

5. Gestational diabetes

This is a pregnancy related diabetes. The hormones generated by the placenta causes the cells to become more insulin resistant. At times, the pancreas cannot cope with this additional insulin. As a result, there will be more glucose in the blood and cause gestational diabetes. This usually disappears at the end of the pregnancy although there are higher chances of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. This may also cause problems during pregnancy at times. 

6. Family history

Genetics and environmental factors play an important role in diabetes. Type 1 diabetes may relate to inheritance from parents. It is also more likely to develop in winter or colder climates. In contrast, type 2 diabetes is highly sensitive to family and lifestyle factors. People in the same family tend to have similar eating and exercising habits. Obesity is also common in some families in comparison to others.

7. Sedentary lifestyle

Lower physical activity increases your risk of developing diabetes. Eating junk and sitting for prolonged periods of time makes it difficult for the body to absorb sugar. This affects insulin production. Even those who regularly exercise yet spend more time sitting down face similar risk of diabetes.

Staying healthy can stem from changing your routine or improving eating patterns. Find our more how to prevent diabetes by including 6 types of Sri Lankan food in your cooking.

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