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The Etiology of Diabetes

Diabetes By Gunjan Rastogi , Onlymyhealth editorial team / Jul 09, 2013
The Etiology of Diabetes

The cause and pathological factors lead to the signs and symptoms of diabetes. Let us learn some of the features that are related with this health condition.

Diabetes mellitus (DM) or diabetes is a family of metabolic diseases in which a person suffers from very steep blood sugar levels due to inability of the body to produce sufficient insulin or the body cells develop immunity to the available insulin in the body.

diagnostic instruments for diabetesThe etiology of diabetes refers to the cause of the disease, the pathological factor that leads to the signs related with diabetes. Though we cannot understand every detail of developing diabetes, but we can learn about some of the features that are related with this health condition, such as knowing the basic pathological processes that happen in the body and can result in the disease.

Types of Diabetes:

Diabetes can be classified into three types:

  • Type 1 Diabetes

 This form of diabetes develop, when beta cells in the pancreas are attacked by body’s own cells and thus it fails to produce sufficient amount of insulin to regulate the amount of glucose or sugar in the body. This form of diabetes is also referred to as insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile diabetes. A person suffering from Type 1 diabetes is required to inject insulin or wear an insulin pump.

  • Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus  is a result of the excess amount of insulin in the blood stream due to one’s diet, lack of exercise or genetic disposition to type 2 diabetes. In this diabetes form, the receptor cells become less sensitive to the insulin. Insulin resistance results in high sugar levels. Overweight or obese people are more prone to type 2 diabetes mellitus. About 90% of all the cases of diabetes are of this type.

  • Gestational Diabetes

It is an abnormal case of diabetes mellitus, which affects women without a previous history of diabetes during pregnancy. Hormonal changes as well as metabolic load prevents the pancreas from producing sufficient amount of  insulin, which lead to very high levels of blood glucose, resulting mostly in type 2 diabetes later on.

Causes of Diabetes:

  • Heredity:  Type 1 diabetes is normally inherited. The gene variant called human leukocyte antigen (HLA) on WBC’s may carry the risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
  • Obesity: Obese people are more prone to type 2 diabetes rather than physically active and fit people. The chances become greater if they have a family history of diabetes.
  • Insulin Resistance: When the body cells have develop an immunity against insulin, the blood sugar levels rise to alarmingly high levels, which is the main factor of diabetes.
  • Lifestyle Factors: Diabetes is triggered in people, who are hardly physically active and have a habit of regular consumption of foods that are high on sugar, fats, salt or carbohydrates.
  • Pregnancy:  Pregnant women might have a dysfunctional pancreas, which means insufficient insulin so they are more vulnerable to gestational diabetes.



Prediabetes is a case of diabetes or an early stage of diabetes, where the blood sugar levels of the patient is higher than the normal levels, but not high enough to diagnose for a positive result for diabetes. This is an early stage when the body cells start developing invulnerability against insulin. Most of the people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes have an initial case of Prediabetes. The symptoms should not be ignored as they can cause damage to vital organs even in the early stage.

Diabetes: A Metabolic Disorder

Diabetes mellitus, a consequence of a dysfunctional liver, is a case of inability of the body cells to absorb glucose present in the blood. The glucose is synthesised in the body from the food consumed by the body. The body makes use of the glucose to carry out different activities. A diabetic has steep levels of glucose in his blood, but still the body cannot use it for its proper functioning.


  • Abnormal weight loss.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Increased thirst.
  • Increased hunger.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fatigue.
  • Lethargy.
  • Blurriness.


Following are some tests for the diagnosis of diabetes or prediabetes:

A1C Test:

  • 5.7% to 5.99% indicates a case of prediabetes
  • 6.6% and above indicates diabetes

Fasting Plasma Test (FPG)

  • 100mg/dl to125.99mg/dl indicates Prediabetes.
  • 126mg/dl and above indicates diabetes.

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)

  • 140mg/dl to 199.9 mg/dl means Prediabetes.
  • 200mg/dl means diabetes.


  • Follow a healthy lifestyle. Make daily exercise a part of your lifestyle.
  • Eat healthy. Go for food rich in fibre and low in fats and sugar.
  • Have your blood sugar levels tested at regular levels, especially if you have a family history of diabetes.
  • Keep away from stress. Stress is a major cause of obesity, which is a major cause of diabetes.


  • The most effective treatment of diabetes is to engage in moderate exercises as well as adhering to a balanced diet. Try to include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet and abstain from eating sweets.
  • Type 1 diabetes patients are to be injected with insulin.
  • Type 2 diabetes patients are also treated with certain medications, exercise and proper diet. They might be given insulin injections in case of excessively high glucose levels.

Read more articles on Diabetes.


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