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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What causes type 2 diabetes?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    Diabetes Australia is the national peak body for diabetes in Australia providing a single, powerful, collective voice for people living with diabetes, their families and … View Profile

    While there is no single cause of type 2 diabetes, there are well-established risk factors. Some of these can be changed and some cannot. You are at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes if you:

    ·         have a family history of diabetes
    ·         are older (over 55 years of age ) - the risk increases as we age
    ·         are over 45 years of age and are overweight
    ·         are over 45 years of age and have high blood pressure
    ·         are over 35 years of age and are from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background
    ·         are over 35 years of age and are from Pacific Island, Indian subcontinent or Chinese

    cultural background

    ·         are a woman who has given birth to a child over 4.5 kgs (9 lbs), or had gestational diabetes when pregnant, or had a condition known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

  • 1


    Carolien Koreneff

    Counsellor, Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE), Diabetes Educator, Psychotherapist, Registered Nurse

    Carolien Koreneff is a Somatic (body-oriented) psychotherapist, Health Coach, Counsellor as well as a Credentialed Diabetes Educator with over 20 years experience. She currently sees … View Profile

    Diabetes is caused by insufficient levels of insulin in the blood, or when this insulin does not get to do its job due to problems with the receptor at a cellular level. In people with type 1 diabetes the problem lies in the pancreas. The beta cells in the pancreas, which are responsible for the production of insulin, are damaged or killed, for reasons that are not always clear. If the body cannot produce insulin, there is only one solution thus far: injections of genetically engineered insulin on a daily basis for the rest of the person's life. Type 2 is different, the person's beta cells will still be producing insulin, but this insulin does not work properly. In some people with insulin resistance there may even be an increased insulin production in the beta cells, but as the insulin does not work properly the glucose remains in the blood stream, rather than being absorbed into the body cells where it is converted to energy. Most people with type 2 diabetes will be prescribed one, two or even 3 different kinds of medication to try and overcome these problems. Unfortunately the medication that we currently have available to us will fail in the long term and eventually people with type 2 diabetes will also require insulin treatment.

    The body is a very complex organ, it has taken scientists many years to learn what we now know, and that knowledge is still limited. I posted an article on my Facebook page about the recent discoveries of insulin and how diabetes came to be by a professor in Melbourne, check out one of my business pages on facebook to get more information on this: Glebe Total Healthcare or Shire Total Healthcare.  I will also get my website guru to post it on my own websites: and, in case you do not have a Facebook account.

  • 1


    Dr Stephen Leow

    HealthShare Member

    Lifestyle. Too much or not the right type of food and lack of exercise. There is a debate in the specialist community about which is first but it is still all about lifestyle. Observations in China indicate that when a rural person moves toi an urban enviroment, the rate of diabetes skyrockets. Western civilisations have had a longer time to adapt to the changes in lifestyle but when the changes are rapid, there is a hgh incidence of diabetes, hence the higher rate of diabetes in Aboriginals, Indians and Chinese. Low level inflammation (as a result of lifestyle) is cited as one of the factors in developing diabetes. Genetics, we cannot change but what we can change is lifestyle. I have seen dramatic changes when patients have instituted weight loss and exercise programs. If the Chinese experience is a clue, the rural lifestyle, with lots of physical work and low energy diet, keeps diabetes at bay.

  • Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    Type 2 diabetes is caused by a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. Although there is a strong family link (you are more likely to get type 2 diabetes if a close family member has it), the chance of getting type 2 diabetes is greater if you:

    • are overweight

    • have high blood pressure

    • do little physical activity

    • have a high fat, high sugar diet.

    Type 2 diabetes progresses slowly and you can have it for many years without knowing it. It differs from Type 1 diabetes, which is thought to occur because the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes is not caused by the body’s immune system.

    Other causes of diabetes

    Gestational diabetes

    During pregnancy, a woman’s body needs two to three times more insulin than usual to keep her blood glucose levels normal. Gestational diabetes develops if your pancreas is unable to produce the extra insulin needed, causing higher than normal blood sugar (glucose) levels. Gestational diabetes can often be controlled with diet and exercise, and will usually improve or disappear after your baby is born, but your doctor may test you for diabetes 3 months after your baby is born, and every 1 or 2 years after that.

    Pancreas disease or damage

    Pancreatic disease (chronic pancreatitis), or damage to the pancreas, in particular to the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, can also cause diabetes. This means that the pancreas makes less insulin, resulting in higher than normal blood glucose levels.

    Medication-induced diabetes

    Some medicines such as corticosteroids (e.g. prednisolone or dexamethasone) can cause weight gain, and increase the amount of glucose and lipids (cholesterol and fats) in the blood. This increases the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Other medicines for serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (e.g. olanzapine and clozapine) can also cause weight gain and increase blood glucose levels, causing type 2 diabetes.

    If you have gestational diabetes, medication-induced diabetes, or diabetes due to pancreatic disease or damage, you will be monitored, managed and treated as if you have type 2 diabetes. This will involve making diet and lifestyle changes and may mean that you have to take diabetes medicines to control your blood glucose levels.

    If you have medication-induced diabetes, you will need ongoing blood glucose monitoring after you have stopped taking your medicines, as you will still be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes (due to insulin resistance) and the complications of diabetes, including heart and circulation (cardiovascular) problems, in the future.


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