How Do You Get Diabetes? Four Lesser-Known Causes

By Temma Ehrenfeld @temmaehrenfeld
March 30, 2017

Eating too many carbohydrates isn’t the only cause of diabetes. Here are four risk factors of type 2 diabetes that you might not know much about.

Do you know if your blood sugar levels are healthy? More than one in three of all Americans have prediabetes — blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. Unless they lose weight and exercise more, 15 percent to 30 percent of the prediabetic group will develop type 2 diabetes within five years. In addition, nearly 28 percent of Americans with diabetes don’t know they have the disease, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  


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How do you get diabetes?

The familiar explanation for what causes type 2 diabetes is that you ate too much junk carbohydrates — soda and other sweets, as well as white bread and potatoes — and became too fat, making your body less responsive to insulin, the body chemical that manages blood sugar levels. We now know that although it’s still essential to limit or cut out those foods to maintain your health, other factors also play a role in diabetes.

1. Inflammation heightens the risk of diabetes. 

Inflammation is your body’s response to a threat. Air pollution, gum disease, a poor diet, and obesity all can create persistent, low-level inflammation in your body.

If you are fat in the middle, it’s especially important to lose weight. Most belly fat is ectopic fat, which secretes inflammatory chemicals and hides in your muscles and liver. Ectopic fat is one reason obese men are about seven times more likely to get diabetes than men in a normal weight range. Obese women are 12 times more at risk.

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February 28, 2020

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN