The Type 1 Diabetes Risk – It’s Not All In The Genes | Diseases and Conditions
Wednesday July 3rd 2019

The Type 1 Diabetes Risk – It’s Not All In The Genes

The term “Type 1 diabetes” describes a chronic condition characterized by the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin, a special hormone that helps transport energy sources into the cells. Since the pancreas cannot produce its own source of insulin, there is no insulin around to deliver sugar to the cells. Blood sugar will remain elevated unless injections of insulin are given.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention… in the United States approximately 13,000 new cases of Type 1 diabetes are diagnosed among the pediatric population each year. Type 1 diabetes occurs frequently in children and adolescents but adults can also be diagnosed with this form of diabetes. Unfortunately many adults are misdiagnosed as having Type 2 diabetes, when they actually have Type 1.

The site Mayoclinic.com states despite the intensive research and clinical studies performed to combat Type 1 diabetes, there is still no absolute cure for this health problem. However, with proper management and control of high blood sugar levels, these diabetics can now live longer and healthier than ever before.

What causes Type 1 diabetes?

The exact cause is still unclear. However, most scientists believe this happens when some components of the immune system, the system that wards off infectious diseases and certain potentially cancerous cells, “go crazy” and attack the normal insulin-producing pancreatic tissues. As a result, little or no insulin is produced by the body to control the rising blood sugar levels.

What are the factors that contribute to the development of Type 1 diabetes?

For most people, this form of diabetes connotes a metabolic problem that springs from a genetic aberration passed from one generation to the next. However, as stated by mayoclinic.com, there are various factors, not just genetic actors, that can contribute to the development of this health problem.

These include:

1. a strong family history of diabetes… if your mother, father, brother, sister or even aunts and uncles have diabetes, chances are, you also have a high probability of developing your very own version of Type 1 diabetes.

2. your geographic location… mayoclinic.com states the incidence of Type 1 or insulin-dependent diabetes, noticeably increases as one travels farther away from the equator. To prove this point, people who are residing in Sardinia and Finland have a two to three times more insulin-dependent diabetics compared to the United States, and four hundred times more diabetics compared to Venezuela.

3. viral exposure… exposure to some common infection-causing viruses such as the mumps virus, the Epstein-Barr virus, and the coxsackie virus, may trigger the onset.

4. low levels of vitamin D… another hypothesis expressed by scientists is the probability of the involvement of a vitamin D deficiency. According to a few studies mentioned at mayoclinic.com, vitamin D may protect a person from Type 1 diabetes. On the other hand, some studies suggest the early intake of cow’s milk, which is high in vitamin D, may be the cause of the insulin depleted state in the pediatric population. More clinical investigations are needed to settle the controversies regarding the role of vitamin D in the development of Type 1 diabetes.

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