Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disorder in which our immune system destroys the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells (known as an autoimmune response).
Note: Symptoms of diabetes appear when 85 – 90% of beta cells are destroyed
- The specific combination of genes contributes to type 1 diabetes.
- Presence of these genes makes people susceptible to type 1 diabetes.
- The risk of type 1 diabetes is higher for relatives of patients with type 1 diabetes, but > 85% of patients with type 1 diabetes do not have a family member with the disease.
The lifetime risk of developing type 1 diabetes:
- Sibling – 6%
- Mother – 2%
- Father – 4.6%
- Both parents have diabetes – 10%
Environmental factors trigger the autoimmune response in a genetically predisposed individual.
The likely environmental factors are:
- Gestational infections in mother during pregnancy.
- Viral infections like mumps, rubella, enteroviruses, rotavirus.
- Early introduction of bovine milk, cereals, high protein food.
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Intake of high-calorie food and weight gain
- Psychologic stress like child-parent separation
- Toxic substances like alloxan, streptozocin causing direct beta-cell damage.