Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes has strong genetic links, meaning that type 2 diabetes tends to run in families. Several genes have been identified and more are under study which may relate to the causes of type 2 diabetes. Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include the following:
  • High blood pressure

  • High blood triglyceride (fat) levels

  • Gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds

  • High-fat diet

  • High alcohol intake

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Obesity or being overweight

  • Ethnicity, particularly when a close relative had type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes: certain groups, such as African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Japanese Americans, have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.

  • Aging: Increasing age is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Risk begins to rise significantly at about age 45 years, and rises considerably after age 65 years.


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