Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that affects the way the body processes sugar. It is caused by a combination of factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and environmental influences. The real cause of type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance, which occurs when the body's cells don't interact normally with insulin. This leads to an inability to absorb enough sugar, resulting in high blood sugar levels.
Body mass index (BMI) is a number calculated from a person's weight and height, and it is used to assess whether someone is overweight or obese. People who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Before developing type 2 diabetes, most people have prediabetes, where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. People with prediabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Losing a small amount of weight if you're overweight and getting regular physical activity can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A lifestyle change program offered through the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program can help you make those changes and keep them sustained. Through this program, you can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 58% (71% if you are 60 or older). Excess weight sometimes causes insulin resistance and is common in people with type 2 diabetes.
The location of body fat also makes a difference; excess belly fat is linked to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and heart and blood vessel disease. People of Asian descent in the normal weight range may have too much visceral fat and be at risk for type 2 diabetes with a lower BMI. Type 2 diabetes usually starts with insulin resistance, a condition in which the muscles, liver, and fat cells don't use insulin well. As a result, the body needs more insulin to help glucose enter cells.
At first, the pancreas produces more insulin to meet the additional demand. Over time, the pancreas can't produce enough insulin and blood glucose levels rise. Hormones produced by the placenta contribute to insulin resistance, which occurs in all women in late pregnancy. Most pregnant women can produce enough insulin to overcome insulin resistance, but some don't; this is known as gestational diabetes. My opinion is that type 2 diabetes is not a hormonal disease but a nutritional condition caused by excessive consumption of cultivated grains and grain-based foods.
This means that type 2 diabetes could have molecular causes that are independent of insulin and blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas; this usually occurs in childhood. You can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes with proven and achievable lifestyle changes such as losing a small amount of weight and getting more physical activity even if you're at high risk. While prediabetes and diabetes may look like different conditions, they are actually the same disease with the same risks.