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Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

It is difficult to be conclusive when identifying a cause for a long term condition such as type 2 diabetes, when a number of contributing factors may be present.

Key to the development of type 2 diabetes is the body’s inability to properly respond to insulin.

Researchers from around the globe have studied data and carried out experiments to try to understand what may cause insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes to develop.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes

There are a number risk factors that are closely linked to type 2 diabetes, but research is yet to provide clear answers as to how much these factors may be a cause or otherwise an association.

Type 2 diabetes risk factors include:

  • Carrying too much excess body fat
  • Having high blood pressure or cholesterol
  • Having a close family member with type 2 diabetes
  • Having previously had gestational diabetes
  • Read more about risk factors for type 2 diabetes


Dietary factors are often viewed as a prominent cause of diabetes and often incorrect assumptions that it is the only factor linked to a cause are made.

Research indicates that diet can play a part in type 2 diabetes but it is still one factor amongst many others that can apply and generalisations should not be drawn without the consideration of other contributing factors.


Research has uncovered a number of genes which are associated with an increased risk of diabetes. There are a number of factors which can influence our blood sugar levels, including where we distribute fat on our body and how well our muscles take up glucose from the blood.

Our genes help to control each process in the body and a variation in just one gene which plays a part in metabolism can increase the risk of having difficulty with controlling blood sugar later in life. To date researchers have identified over 60 genes associated with type 2 diabetes.

  • Read more about genetic research and type 2 diabetes


A number of medications have been linked with increased risks of type 2 diabetes. Some of these medications include the following:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Thiazides
  • Beta-blockers
  • Statins

It may sometimes be difficult to distinguish how much medications may raise the risk of type 2 diabetes in people that are already at risk and how much medications may have been the primary causal factor.

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