Diabetes (Mellitus, Type 1 and Type 2) (cont.)
Type 1 diabetes: Type 1 diabetes is believed to be an autoimmune disease. The body's immune system
specifically attacks the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
- A predisposition to develop type 1 diabetes may run in families, but genetic
causes (a positive family history) are much more common for type 2 diabetes.
- Environmental factors, including common unavoidable viral infections, may also contribute
to type 1 diabetes.
- Type 1 diabetes is most common in people of non-Hispanic, Northern European descent (especially Finland and Sardinia), followed by African Americans, and Hispanic Americans. It is relatively rare in those of Asian descent.
- Type 1 diabetes is slightly more common in men than in women.
Type 2 diabetes: Type 2 diabetes has strong genetic links, meaning that
type 2 diabetes tends to run in families. Several genes have been identified, and more are under study which may relate to the causes of type 2 diabetes. Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include the following:
- High blood pressure
- High blood triglyceride (fat) levels
- Gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
- High-fat diet
- High alcohol intake
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Obesity or being overweight
- Ethnicity, particularly when a close relative had type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes: certain groups, such as African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Japanese Americans, have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.
- Aging: Increasing age is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Risk begins to rise significantly at about age 45 years, and rises considerably after age 65 years.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/3/2014
Must Read Articles Related to Diabetes (Mellitus, Type 1 and Type 2)
Caring for Your Diabetes at Special Time
Be prepared to manage your diabetes, and control blood sugar and symptoms when you're sick, when you're at work or school, when traveling, during pregnancy, or ...learn more >>
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye disease is a complication from diabetes. Types of diabetic eye disease include background diabetic retinopathy, nonproliferative diabetic retinopat...learn more >>
Diabetic Foot Care
Read about diabetic foot care. Causes of foot problems in people with diabetes include footwear, nerve damage, poor circulation, trauma, infections, and smoking...learn more >>
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Diabetes (Mellitus, Type 1 and Type 2):