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What is the root cause of diabetes?

I don’t know about you, but I really like finding out the reason behind why things happen… And when it comes to a chronic condition like diabetes, that can be very frustrating. Did we get diabetes to encourage us to live healthier lives? Is that all? Is that it? What’s the root cause of diabetes?

root cause of diabetes

Are you grateful for anything when it comes to diabetes?

We asked our community – South Africans with Diabetes – if there’s anything related to diabetes that makes them grateful, and we actually got a lot of responses – very varied responses.

Suzaan said it has taught her empathy for other people, and to have a more nuanced understanding of the daily challenges people face.

Mona said she had to learn to look after herself.

Fatima said it’s taught her to be grateful for the little things in life.

Adele said diabetes taught her responsibility.

All valuable things. But let’s take a broader look at the condition, and what it could possibly be offering us in terms of life lessons.

For those of us living with diabetes, how could we see a bigger meaning in the condition? Is there a root cause of diabetes?

When one has a medical condition, that condition affects the physical part of their human constitution. And diabetes is a chronic condition that one lives with for life. It is engraved in us as a humanity historically, that when something happens, we want to understand the cause of it. So in this terrestrial life, our physical bodies are being inflicted by a condition which, if not managed, is not suitable for good quality of life, and full life.

So you’ve got to understand what led to that. Now we know we have two forms of diabetes, which are dominant on the planet, there are other small minor contributors. But the big one is Type 2 diabetes – 90% of people on the planet with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes.

“We’ve always said the risk factor of Type 2 diabetes is lifestyle. So if we look at it that way, we’re attributing some causality to lifestyle, which means human beings don’t know how to live.”

Dr Sundeep Ruder

Is there any association between personality types and Type 1 diabetes?

There are patterns everywhere. All of us are born with a particular mental temperament, fragrance or pattern. In modern science, they have observed scientific evidence that the type A personality, which is characterized often by strong career ambition, impatience and competitiveness, tend to experience more stress.

Why? Because stress is a mental agitation due to unfulfilled desires. If you have too many expectations of how the world must be, but the world has its own cause and effect playing out, other people aren’t going to comply to your worldview, that will cause you stress. Instead of riding the waves, you have a fixed view, and this causes agitation, and the agitation is going to activate the fight or flight response.

Physiologically, we know that a lot of constant stress causes dysfunction of the immune system, and you can get autoimmune diseases. And then what’s the condition teaching? Well, it’s saying examine this subject object relationship, let’s see if we can manage this mind better.

diabetes and philosophy

Any tips from philosophy that could make it easier for those of us with diabetes?

You know, this type of information on how to live life has existed forever. And it’s been presented to humanity in different forms and packages over time. But in today’s times, where we have a scientific logic and a mathematical approach – the intellect has been a little more developed, perhaps – then you want a logical approach. So you need to extract that core philosophy and present it to humanity in a way that is understandable.

Diabetes technologies are improving at a rapid rate. Yet, when you look at the actual numbers, overall, it looks like we’re barely making a dent in the change of the trajectory of the condition. So why is that we have push button comfort, better technology than we did 100 years ago (when we had animal extract insulin) yet we’re still not winning?

That tells you there’s a deficit in that subject-object relationship, the object is improving, the technology is improving, but the subject remains debilitated. Ultimately, you will find that external approaches never give you the ultimate solution, and you’re forced to go within.

“Humans have to live with a close and wise relationship with the environment to maintain balance within it.”

claude bernard, philosopher

Would you rather listen to this information?

Here’s an episode of our podcast about it!

About the podcast guest

Dr Sundeep Ruder is a Clinical Endocrinologist at Life Fourways Hospital – Johannesburg, an Honorary Consultant at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital and an Associate Lecturer at the University of Witwatersrand in the field of internal medicine and endocrinology. He is also a student of Philosophy at the Vedanta Academy, India.

What to read next?

What is diabetes? Do you know exactly what diabetes is, and the different types? We outline it so you have all the facts.

What are Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes? Finally! An easy explanation.

10 Fast facts about heart disease: Wondering what you need to know about heart disease? Here are all the basics, fast!

Photos by Jeremy Bishop and Ryan Snaadt on Unsplash

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  1. Angel P Angel P

    No one is doing nothing. The pharmaceutical business do not Alou doctor’s cure even if they have the way.

  2. […] as it so often is with Type 2 (even though that is entirely unfair and doesn’t take hereditary predisposition into account at all). Type 1 is an autoimmune condition, and by setting ourselves apart as those […]

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.