Type 1 diabetes: Type 1 diabetes
is believed to be an autoimmune disease. The body's immune
system attacks the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
- A predisposition to develop
type 1 diabetes may run in families, but genetic causes (a
postitive family history) is much more common for type 2
- Environmental factors,
including common unavoidable viral infections, may also
- 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
- High blood triglyceride (fat)
- 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.