Risk factors

CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS FOR DIABETES

 

Type I diabetes

The ultimate cause of type 1 diabetes is not completely clear yet. Pathologic variations (polymorphisms) of genes involved in production of insulin or in the function of the immune system cells are among the possible causes of type I diabetes. Most of these polymorphisms interfere with the negative selection of the immune cells that can react towards pancreatic β-cells. The immune system in T1D is self-reactive, and attack the cells that produce insulin (the pancreatic β-cells). Autoantibodies directed against glutamic-decarboxylase (GADA), islet cells (ICA), insulin-associated antigen (IA2) and Zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8) and self-reactive T-cells can than be found. Other causes of diabetes are pancreatic cancer, chronic pancreatitis, pancreatectomy, viral infections and endocrinopathies.

Type II

In type II diabetes insulin is still produced (at least in the first phases), but peripheral cells become resistant to insulin activity thus becoming inefficient in extracting glucose from the blood. The main risk factors for type II diabetes are:</span”>

  • Excess weight
  • Hypertension (140/90 mmHg or above)
  • Dislipidemia (increased level of cholesterol or trygliceride)
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Non-white population

Gestational Diabetes


Gestational diabetes is a temporary type of diabetes that develops during the 24th to the 28th week of pregnancy in women who did not previously have diabetes, or who were undiagnosed prior to becoming pregnant. It has been calculated that this condition affect the 5-7% of pregnant women. The causes for gestational diabetes are mostly unknown, however a major role seems to be played by placenta-derived hormones, which are associated to increased insulin resistance in the mother body cells. The main risk factors are:

  • Age>25 years
  • Excess weight
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Non-white population

[Last update: July 2018]