Why did I get diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes develops when an autoimmune reaction causes the pancreas to stop producing insulin.

"Autoimmune reaction" means that the body creates antibodies against its own cells.  When this happens, it means that you can no longer make your own insulin.

We don't know exactly why people get diabetes.  But there is a lot of research going on right now to find out.

Type 2 diabetes
There are some things in your background that make you more likely to get type 2 diabetes:

  • Family history
    Type 2 diabetes especially tends to run in families.  The more people in your family who have diabetes, the more likely you are to get it.

  • Age
    Type 2 diabetes usually comes on later in life - often after age 45.  The symptoms start gradually, so it's often harder to diagnose.

  • Weight
    At least three out of four people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, and most have been overweight for many years.  Enlarged fat cells don't respond well to insulin and that means the body works harder to produce more insulin.

  • Pregnancy
    Extra demands on the pancreas cause some women to develop diabetes during pregnancy.  This is called " gestational diabetes."  Often, it goes away after delivery.  But, later in life, diabetes may return.  The risk of diabetes is greater if the mother has given birth to a baby that weighed over 4kg (9 lbs) at birth.