7 Causes of Diabetes

Diabetes is a common but serious disease that affects how your body produces and handles blood glucose. Almost 30 million people in the U.S. have the disease, and over 80 million have prediabetes, which can lead to diabetes if goes untreated. Although the disease is mostly found in adults, cases are starting to appear in children and adolescents. The disease causes symptoms like increased thirst, dry mouth, fatigue, and headaches. If you experience these symptoms, it’s important to visit a doctor to be tested for diabetes, prediabetes, or insulin resistance. Fortunately, symptoms can usually be managed with medications and lifestyle changes. Many people experience a combination of risk factors that are likely all responsible for the development of the disease. Here are seven of the most common causes of diabetes:

1. Physical Inactivity

Lack of physical activity is one of the most common causes of the disease. Even if you eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight, physical inactivity could have a big enough impact on your glucose levels to lead to diabetes.

In a study at the University of Missouri, researcher John Thyfault examined the relationship between physical activity and postprandial glucose levels, or the blood sugar spike that occurs after eating. Higher levels of postprandial glucose are a big risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Participants in the study were healthy individuals who reduced their physical activity by half for a few days. After the decrease in exercise, their postprandial glucose responses doubled.

Even being physically inactive for a day or two can have an impact on your blood glucose levels. If you’ve had a sedentary lifestyle for a long time, it can increase your postprandial glucose response enough to cause diabetes. Fortunately, exercising has an immediate positive effect on blood glucose.