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    Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

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    The Role of Insulin in the Cause of Type 2 Diabetes continued...

    The amount of glucose in the bloodstream is tightly regulated by insulin and other hormones. Insulin is always being released in small amounts by the pancreas. When the amount of glucose in the blood rises to a certain level, the pancreas will release more insulin to push more glucose into the cells. This causes the glucose levels in the blood (blood glucose levels) to drop.

    To keep blood glucose levels from getting too low (hypoglycemia or low blood sugar), the body signals you to eat and releases some glucose from the stores kept in the liver; it also signals the body to lower the amount of insulin being released.

    People with diabetes either don't make insulin or their body's cells no longer are able to recognize insulin, leading to high blood sugars. By definition, diabetes is having a blood glucose level of greater than or equal to126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) after an overnight fast (not eating anything), or by having a non-fasting glucose level greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL along with symptoms of diabetes, or a glucose level of greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL on a 2-hour glucose tolerance test, or an A1C greater than or equal to 6.5%. Diabetes must be confirmed by meeting at least two of these test criteria, or by repeating one of these tests on a different day.

    Health Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

    Type 2 diabetes is believed to have a strong genetic link, meaning that it tends to run in families. Several genes are being studied that may be related to the cause of type 2 diabetes. If you have any of the following type 2 diabetes risk factors, it’s important to ask your doctor about a diabetes test. With a proper diabetes diet and healthy lifestyle habits, along with diabetes medication, if necessary, can manage type 2 diabetes just like you manage other areas of your life. Be sure to continue seeking the latest information on type 2 diabetes as you become your own health advocate.

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