Diabetes - Type 1 Community
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diabetes type I

What are the risk factors of type I diabetes? Besides autoimmune reactions.
Thank you.
5 Responses
Avatar universal
Of course, I am not a doctor, only a volunteer with Type I Diabetes, so my answer shouldn't replace the information you can get from your medical books.  My understanding of Type I is that an autoimmune response may be the cause of Type I and I suppose if you have one autoimmune response, it may be possible to be at risk for other autoimmune responses to other parts of your body.  The risk factors that you most commonly hear of relate to small blood vessel disease that can impact your eyesight and your kidneys.  There is also a greater risk of  heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes.  These risk factors are greatly increased when blood sugars are not kept in good control.  

With today's insulins, blood testing technology and pumps, it is more possible than ever to maintain good control and minimize some of these complications. It is not an easy disease to live with, but it isn't as horrible as it used to be thanks to all the research and advances that have been made.  The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has been a leader in research that has certainly changed my life over the past 40 years of living with Type I Diabetes.  I know that not only has my lifespan been extended due to the technical ability to better control my blood sugars, but also my quality of life and health have been enhanced thanks to the progress that has been made in managing diabetes and treating its complications.  With continued research, I am confident that a cure will be found in my lifetime.  
Avatar universal
+ Is obesity a risk factor of type I diabetes? or only of type II ?
Avatar universal
This is not well understood. As you say, T1 diabetes results from an autoimmune attack on beta cells. But the reasons for this are not known. It seems that you need to have been born with a genetic pre-disposition to become T1 diabetic. But something needs to actually trigger the autoimmune reaction.

Viruses are often involved. And trauma, like a car accident, can also bring it on. There are probably various other triggers too. Obesity is not a T1 risk factor as insulin resistance is typically not an issue. The onset of T1 does not appear to be related to dietary or lifestyle choices.


Avatar universal
Dear med. student,

None of us are physicians, but volunteers who either have type 1 or as a parent or family member who are very involved with diabetes.

With type 1 the beta cells are destroyed in the pancreas due to the autoimmune response. I agree with Markie, it is usually triggered by something and many cases has a genetic factor that comes into play. Keep in mind there are also many cases that doctors cannot find a genetic reason. I personally believe from my own research that there is a combination of factors that come into play. Type 2 is very similar in treatment with diet, excercise and sometimes insulin and also manifests the same complications, but are very different in the presentation of what happens with the beta cells. Type 2 creates a resistance to how the body uses insulin where type 1's beta cells can no longer produce insulin.

Markie is also correct that we still do not know enough about how type 1 happens. Probably type 2 as well. We do know that obesity can diffently cause type 2, while you will find type 1's, upon diagnoses usually experience weight loss and is not associated with obesity in any way that I have ever heard of.

There have been recent studies that have created a gray area between the two regarding age and developing diabetes. It was generally thought that type 2 was always assumed to strike people who were older, well into adulthood. While I am sure more research needs to be done, I have heard reports with our children being less active because of our lifestyle and fast foods, obesity in children is rising and some as young as 13 are being diagnosed with type 2.

I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.


Avatar universal
It seems that I misinterpreted your question.  Sorry!  I was thinking of complications when one has Type I.  It looks like ther rest of the team did a good job answering yor question.  Thanks team!
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