Frequently Asked Questions

6. What causes diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. In an autoimmune reaction, antibodies, or immune cells, attach to the body's own healthy tissues by mistake, signaling the body to attack them.

At present, scientists do not know exactly what causes the body's immune system to attack the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas in people with type 1 diabetes. However, many believe that both genetic factors and environmental factors are involved. Studies now are underway to identify these factors and prevent type 1 diabetes in people at risk.

Type 2 diabetes--the most common form of diabetes-- is closely linked to obesity, high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol levels. About 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. Being overweight can keep your body from using insulin properly.