Type 1 diabetes is commonly diagnosed in adults and little children. In this disease, the body loses the ability to produce insulin and is incapable of absorbing glucose in the cells for energy. Researchers and scientists still have not discovered an exact cause for type 1 diabetes but following are the causes which lead up to this disease.
Our immune system combats dangerous viruses and bacteria. Type 1 diabetes may develop because of an autoimmune condition where the immune system itself becomes repellent towards the insulin and destroys the cells that are responsible for manufacturing it. The T cells, also called the white blood cells, destroy the beta cells which are present in the islet tissue of the pancreas.
Most of the times, the disease remain undiagnosed until a large number of cells has already been destroyed. Once this happens, the body either completely loses the tendency to produce insulin or manufacture insufficient amounts. Insulin circulates in the blood stream and helps the cells to absorb the sugar into the cells and lowers the amount of sugar in the blood. Without insulin, the levels of blood sugar may rise indefinitely posing a threat to the affected individual.
The most common cause that assists in developing type 1 diabetes is genetic susceptibility. Genes travel down from ancestors to the new generations so people may inherit the susceptibility. Researchers believe that people who have HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) complex. Several HLA complexes are associated with type 1 diabetes.
Dietary Factors and Viral Infections
Some theories suggest that the dietary factors and certain kinds of viruses also assist in developing this condition but the particular role that these factors play is still not known definitely. It is believed that sometimes these environmental factors aid the process of destruction of beta cells especially in people who have the tendency to develop diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is often linked with viruses and infections because of it being diagnosed soon after a viral infection, especially during winters when such viruses are more common. This is how it happens:
- Upon invasion of viruses, antibodies are produces by the body to fight them.
- These antibodies are manufactured by T-cells.
- If the antigens contained by the virus are similar to the ones of the beta cells, the immune system turns against them and destroys them.
- The viruses that have antigens similar to beta cells are mumps, viruses that cause diarrhea such as rotavirus, German measles, and coxsackie B virus.
Infants who are breast-fed and receive supplements for vitamin D have a lesser chance of developing the condition, whereas the children who are given cereal proteins and cow milk from a very tender age are more prone to develop type 1 diabetes.
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