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Diabetes Mellitus : Causes
Western Medicine Chinese Medicine

Higher than normal glucose levels are results of defective insulin secretion, insulin action or both. The pathology of type 1 disease involves islet cell destruction and beta-cell loss (two types of cells in the pancreas responsible for making and secreting insulin) leading to an absolute lack of insulin. It is believed that cytotoxic T lymphocytes and macrophages which are types of immune cells, target the destruction of islet cells possibly due to viral causes, toxins, or autoimmune stimulation.

In contrast, the size and number of beta cells are relatively normal in type 2 disease. The number of beta cells may even be increased due to a compensatory mechanism of the pancreas to secrete more insulin as a response to a state of insulin resistance. In addition, the liver of a patient with type 2 diabetes may be producing too much glucose or the timing of insulin secretion is inappropriate.

The primary causes of diabetes are detailed below.

1. Congenital Deficiency
  Individuals born with a congenital deficiency are genetically susceptible to this disease. Dysfunction of the lungs and kidneys affects the water metabolism in the same way dysfunction of the spleen and stomach affects digestive power. In turn, these organs cannot function properly and diabetes is caused by the mechanisms listed in the definition section.
2. Improper Diet
  Over consumption of greasy food and alcohol drinks may impair the stomach and the spleen, which in turn fail to transform and transport these substances into nutrition for the body. The undigested food then accumulates and transforms into heat and dryness evils, and consumes the body fluid, which causes thirst and excessive drinking.
3. Emotional Disorders
  Over stimulation of emotions may spark stagnation of vital qi and then transform it into a heat-evil, which consumes the yin-fluid of organs like the lungs and stomach. Symptoms of diabetes occur when the body's metabolism becomes unbalanced from dysfunction of the lungs and spleen.
4. Tension
  Overwork leads to consumption of yin-essence in the kidneys and produces internal fire or heat evils. This accelerates the depletion the nutrients and triggers a rise in metabolic rates, which results in increased appetite but with weight loss. An increased appetite and weight loss are some of the classic symptoms of diabetes.
5. Pleasure Indulgences
  Excessive sexual activity can cause consumption of kidney essence (a yin-component that includes sperm and egg cells and blood), which leads to a relative excess of yang. When this occurs, a "virtual fire" or a heat evil is created which heats up the lungs and stomach causing organ damage. In turn, these organs cannot function properly and diabetes is caused by the mechanisms listed in the definition section.
6. Drugs
  Improperly used libido drugs can cause heat evils to accumulate in the lower-burner. When individuals consume them for a long time and get older, the kidney yin will become insufficient and cause damage to the kidneys' "vaporization" function. See definition section. The damage of this function is one of the causes of diabetes.

Diabetes forms from a TCM Perspective