The Known Causes of Type 1 diabetes

What are the factors that contribute to the onset or progression of Type 1 diabetes?

There are two main types of diabetes, Type 1 and 2. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder; that is, the body starts to attack itself.

There are a number of common autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis which attacks bones and joints.

In the case of Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is attacked so it can no longer produce insulin.

The Known Causes of Type 1 diabetes

Insulin is a hormone involved in converting the food you eat into energy for your cells. A lack of insulin causes low blood sugar, which can lead to death if left untreated. Type 1 diabetics take synthetic insulin to maintain normal glucose levels.

While it is not possible to prevent Type 1 diabetes, there is a lot that can be done to halt its progression so it does not cause even more serious health problems.

In relation to Type 2 diabetes, there is a lot that can be done to prevent it. With Type 2 diabetes, the body does produce insulin, but something interferes with the cycle of turning the food you eat into energy that is distributed to the cells.

In most cases, the blood sugar goes too high, a condition known as hyperglycemia. If a person with Type 2 diabetes does not take their medications (such as oral ones or insulin) correctly, their blood glucose can drop too low, a condition known as hypoglycemia.

There are several known risk factors related to Type 2 diabetes. These will not cause diabetes, but can increase your chances of contracting the disease as you get older.

The Known Causes of Type 1 diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 9% of the population have diabetes, with one-quarter unaware that they have it. Around 86 million adults are thought to have pre-diabetes.

Furthermore, a recent estimate has calculated that up to 35% of Americans have metabolic syndrome, a precursor of pre-diabetes and diabetes.

Known Risk Factors

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are a number of known risk factors for diabetes, including:

* Being 45 years of age or older.

* Having a family member who has diabetes.

* Being from the following ethnic groups:

  • African-American
  • Alaskan Native
  • Native American
  • Asian-Americans from the Indian subcontinent and Filipinos
  • Hispanic or Latino

African-Americans and Native Americans are twice as likely to develop diabetes as whites and nearly four times more likely than Chinese Americans who follow a traditional (non-Western) diet.

* Women who have had gestational diabetes – that is, diabetes that develops when they are pregnant, are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life.

* Having a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds.

* Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – an illness with symptoms that can include irregular or no periods, acne, obesity, and excessive hair growth. Women with PCOS are at a higher risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

* Being overweight or obese

* Having pre-diabetes

* Suffering from metabolic syndrome – a cluster of five health conditions that can lead to insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and diabetes.

The five conditions are:

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Waist roundness – being overweight around the middle
  3. Low HDL (“good”) cholesterol
  4. High triglycerides (a component of cholesterol)
  5. High blood glucose

* Having heart and blood vessel disease such as coronary artery disease (CAD) or peripheral artery disease (PAD), heart attack, heart failure, and stroke.

* Acanthosis nigricans – a skin condition that manifests as dark rashes around your neck or armpits. It is commonly seen in people with metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance.

* Suffering from depression.

Other risk factors have to do with your daily habits and lifestyle and include:

  • Getting little or no exercise
  • Smoking
  • Being under a lot of stress
  • Sleeping too little
  • Sleeping too much

If you have any of these risk factors, it might be time to visit your doctor to check your glucose levels to see what you can do to protect yourself from diabetes.

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