Causes of Diabetes


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Cause of Diabetes: Either reduced insulin production or poor insulin metabolism, depending on subtype.

Cause statistics for Diabetes: The following are statistics from various sources about the causes of Diabetes:

  • Statistics on the underlying causes of deaths due to diabetes and diabetes-related disorders:
    • Diabetes was listed as the only cause of death in 1.7% of cases in Australia, 2002 (Australia’s Health 2004, AIHW)
    • 50% of deaths from diabetes also had heart disease as an associated cause of death in Australia, 2002 (Australia’s Health 2004, AIHW)
    • 22% of deaths from diabetes also had stroke as an associated cause of death in Australia, 2002 (Australia’s Health 2004, AIHW)
    • 15% of deaths from diabetes also had renal failure as an associated cause of death in Australia, 2002 (Australia’s Health 2004, AIHW)

Cause details for Diabetes: People develop diabetes for two reasons: the pancreas does not make enough insulin for the body's needs, or the cells in the muscles, liver, and fat do not use insulin properly, or both. As a result, the amount of glucose in the blood increases while the cells are starved of energy. Over the years, high blood glucose damages nerves and blood vessels, leading to complications such as blindness, heart and kidney disease, nerve problems, gum infections, and amputation. 1

High blood sugar and high blood pressure damage the kidneys’ glomeruli. When the kidneys are damaged, the protein leaks out of the kidneys into the urine. Damaged kidneys do not do a good job of cleaning out waste and extra fluids. So not enough waste and fluids go out of the body as urine. Instead, they build up in your blood. 2

If you have diabetes, your body cannot properly convert foods into the energy needed for daily activity. Our bodies change the foods we eat into a form of sugar called glucose. Glucose travels through the bloodstream to "fuel" or feed our cells. Sometimes it is stored in the liver for future use. Insulin is a hormone that is made in the pancreas and helps cells take in the amount of glucose they need. People with diabetes do not make or properly use insulin. As a result, glucose builds up in their blood and causes many symptoms of diabetes such as feeling tired, losing weight, feeling hungry or thirsty, urinating frequently or having vision problems3

Underlying condition causes of Diabetes: The list of possible underlying conditions (see also Misdiagnosis of underlying causes of Diabetes) mentioned in various sources as possible causes of Diabetes includes:

Diabetes as a complication: Other conditions that might have Diabetes as a complication might be potential underlying causes of Diabetes. The list of conditions listing Diabetes as a complication in our database includes:

Diabetes as a symptom: Conditions listing Diabetes as a symptom may also be potential underlying causes of Diabetes. The list of conditions listing Diabetes as a symptom in our database includes:

Causes of Diabetes: medical news summaries: The following medical news items are relevant to causes of Diabetes:

Related information for causes of Diabetes: Further relevant information on causes of Diabetes may be found in the risk factors for Diabetes and underlying causes of Diabetes.

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Am I at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes: NIDDK
2. excerpt from Keep your kidneys healthy: NIDDK
3. excerpt from Dealing With Diabetes - Age Page - Health Information: NIA

Last revision: April 10, 2003

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