Fundamental Facts About Diabetes
Among the most frequently observed chronic childhood disorders is type 1 diabetes. In addition, it represents the most prevalent type of diabetes to afflict those younger than 40. The second most common type of diabetes to affect these populations is type 2. Many notable individuals have one of these forms of diabetes, including famous actors, musicians and athletes. It is not uncommon for children who receive a diagnosis of diabetes to soon learn that some of the classmates also have the condition, even though they had no outwardly noticeable signs of it.
Recent years have seen an alarming increase in the number of children 10 years of age and older who have developed type 2 diabetes. Adult cases of type 2 diabetes have also been on the rise across the globe. This escalation has been attributed to excessive intake of foods high in fat and calories and insufficient physical exercise resulting in obesity.
It is clearly understood that one does not acquire diabetes as they would catch a virus. It is also well known that type 1 diabetes is not the result of excessive sugar consumption.
There appear to be three major risk factors that cause many to develop this type of diabetes, namely:
1. Factors inherited from family members
2. Autoimmune factors
3. Environmental factors (chemical or virus-induced)
1. Genetic factors
Perhaps the most significant factor in the development of type 1 diabetes is a genetic component.
Key information about inherited diabetes:
Those who have type 1 diabetes likely received certain types of cells (HLA) from a parent or parents. Individuals not afflicted with diabetes have a much lower likelihood of having HLA cell types.
A. HLA cell types are associated with white blood cells, whereas blood types are linked to red blood cells.
B. Almost every type 1 diabetes patient has HLA type DR3 or type DR4.
C. Upwards of 53% of those suffering from type 1 diabetes has a single DR3 and a single DR4, one coming from each of the parents.
D.Just 3% of those who are not diabetic have this same combination of DR3 and DR4. The combination itself renders a person much more likely to become diabetic, particularly if they already have a family member with the condition.
E. More than one half of affected families do not have a close relation affected by type 1 diabetes. It may be that a family is indeed characterized by the DR3 or DR4 gene, but nobody has mated with someone possessing the other gene. Someone with a DR3 gene who makes a match with someone possessing the DR4 gene can produce a child with the critical combination of genes that makes them susceptible to developing diabetes.
F. Researchers have learned that certain genes work to guard against the development of diabetes in some individuals.
G.Kids who are siblings of diabetics have an increased likelihood of developing the condition as compared to those lacking a similar family history. In fact, they have roughly a 5% chance of being diabetic themselves.
H. Heredity, however, is not the sole cause of this kind of diabetes. This has become apparent through the study of identical sets of twins. Research has shown that if one identical twin has diabetes, the other twin develops the condition only half of the time. If genetics were determinative, identical twins would both necessarily be diabetic, 100% of the time. Clearly, the role of genetics in the development of diabetes is not yet fully understood. But, it is believed that mothers and fathers both pass a susceptibility to the condition onto their children.
2. Autoimmunity (self-allergy)
Another known cause of type 1 diabetes has to do with autoimmunity, otherwise referred to as self-allergy. Generally speaking, our own immune systems work to guard against the onset of disease, but for some, this is not always the case.
3. Environmental factors (chemical and viral)
There may be yet another factor playing a large role. Environmental triggers could be viral in nature, or perhaps substances in the foods we ingest. Factors of this type may actually work in conjunction with genetic factors to prompt the ultimate onset of diabetes.
Adult Onset/Type 2 Diabetes:
There are three primary risk factors for the condition known as type 2 diabetes, namely:
* Insensitivity to insulin
1. Obesity plays a major role in the development of type 2 diabetes, though it is not a factor in the development of type 1 diabetes.
2. Insensitivity to insulin: Those with type 2 diabetes are unable to regulate insulin properly. Though it may be that such patients can initially make sufficient amounts on their own, unlike type 1 patients, this ability diminishes over time. Ultimately, it may be necessary for such individuals to take shots of insulin to maintain functional levels.
3. Genetics: It is known that type 2 diabetes is also characterized by a substantial genetic trigger. Those with the condition are not affected by the same HLA gene factors as type 1 patients, but rather they are unable to produce islet cell antibodies. Thus, even though both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have genetic elements, they are completely different from one another.
Experts are now of the belief that diabetes is a condition that evolves slowly, perhaps over the course of years. It is not something that emerges in a sudden manner, manifesting in immediately skyrocketing blood glucose levels. Prior to an actual diagnosis, patients may suffer issues that cause additional damage to the body. Physical stress, viral infections or the presence of unhealthy dietary chemicals may cause harm by prompting white blood cells to produce toxins that limit the ability of insulin-making cells to function correctly.
But, without the necessary genetic element at play, diabetes is unlikely to take hold.
We hope that these facts and information will be helpful for you.
Thanks for your visit and all the best!
Chris and Taylor