The cause of DM is not known, but genetic, autoimmune, viral, environmental, and socioeconomic factors have all been implicated in the development of the disease. Type 1 DM is most likely an autoimmune response in patients with genetic susceptibility. Following an environmental stimulus such as a virus or bacteria, antibodies attack the beta cells of the pancreas and cause insulitis—inflammation and destruction of the beta cells. It is thought that type 2 DM is caused by hereditary insulin resistance or abnormal insulin production. If insulin resistance is acquired rather than inherited, it is usually the result of obesity.

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