The cause of all types of diabetes is production of insufficient amounts of insulin, failure of the body to respond its own insulin or both. Why the pancreas fails to produce the required amounts of insulin or why the body does not respond to the hormone which plays the crucial role in the use and storage of glucose is not exactly known. Unlike the causes, factors which increase the risk of developing diabetes are known.

Type 1 diabetes is more likely to affect children and young adults who have a family history of type 1 diabetes. Besides genetic factors some viral infections are also believed to increase the risk of type 1 diabetes.

The following factors are believed to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes:

– Overweight.
– Lack of physical activity.
– Family history of type 2 diabetes.
– High blood pressure.
– High blood cholesterol levels.
– Age. The vast majority of people suffering from type 2 diabetes are older than 40 years of age which is probably due to reduced physical activity and weight gain.
– Race. It is not known why people of some races and ethnic groups are more susceptible for type 2 diabetes than the others. However, diabetes prevalence is greater among African-American, Hispanics, Asian-American and Native Americans.
– History of gestational diabetes. Women who developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at greater risk to develop type 2 diabetes after delivery.

Factors which increase the risk of gestational diabetes during pregnancy are:

– Overweight.
– Certain races/ethnic groups like in type 2 diabetes.
– Family history of type 2 diabetes or personal history of gestational diabetes.
– Age. Pregnant women older than 25 years of age are at greater risk to develop gestational diabetes.

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