Diabetes - Type 1 Community
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Avatar universal

'few questions

I noticed recently a reply from one of your staffmembers, that the reason the pancreas failes to create insulin is due to the fact that the auto-immune destroyed the beta cells:

1)What type of tests did they take to verify that fact?

2)Name another major disease that is caused by the auto immune.

3)Define "auto-immune" and exactly how it works, and how it destroyes the beta cells. Is there no force behind it? Why hasn't this problem existed hundred's of years ago?

You guys are great! keep up the good work!
9 Responses
Avatar universal
Handsome- THere is not much to add, my partners explained it better than i could.  I hope that they answered yur questions.
Avatar universal

One of the tests commonly used to differentiate between Type 1s (who produce neglible, no insulin of our own) and Type 2s is called C-Peptide test.  When that test comes back showing miniscule/no insulin production, then a person is said to have Type 1.  As a general heuristic, if a person is young, of good weight or perhaps UNDERweight, and shows up with DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis), they can be presumed to have Type 1.

Diabetes has been known for hundreds of year.  Many hundreds.  Its name comes from Latin thru a Greek origin that meant "to walk with legs apart."  Odd indeed, but it was documented then that some folks excreted excessive amounts of urine.  The odd walk may've been due to irritation -- UTIs are still common among poorly-treated, or undiagnosed diabetics.

"Our" type of diabetes is called Diabetes Mellitus.  There is another - less common form called Diabetes Insipidus, which is a totally different disease.  You might find more info on this on the web, too.

Type 1 is believed to be an auto-immune disease in that *something* causes our immune system to attack "self" cells in addition to fighting off "non-self" cells as it should.  You are right to suggest that something has to cause our hyperactive immune response and, while I'm not a physician, I don't know if anyone knows that that "something" is.  Interesting and sad, those of us with one auto-immune disease often find ourselves with others -- as our hyperactive immune system goes to work on other organs.  Many Type 1 diabetics have thyroid issues or Crohns, for example.

Hope this sheds some light on these subjects.  Take good care!
Avatar universal
I forgot to mention that another very visible auto-immune disease is AIDS.  I read somewhere recently that researchers into forms of arthritis also believe there's an auto-immune factor in that disease, too.

We (diabetics) are surely not alone ...
Avatar universal
Dear handsome,
i must recommend you to try to become a part of Norah Jones Handsome Band. But as for the rest of this remember i am not a doctor or a nurse. The test to discover an auto-immune disorder would be to check for abnormal antibodies, which only recently has been available because of the powerful microscopes available now. Two other diseases caused by an auto-immune disorder are Graves' Disease affecting the thyroid and Lupus affecting Joints, Kidneys, Skin, Lungs, Heart and Brain.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by an auto-immune disorder, which is why it also was known as immune-mediated diabetes. An auto-immune disorder is a malfunction in the bodies' own immune system. Normally the body can differentiate between the body and foreign invaders. An auto-immune disorder the body starts to attack it's own tissues as foreign and destroys them.
Type 1 diabetes has been around for centuries and the body starts to see the Beta cells that make insulin as foreign and starts to destroy them. Symptoms don't show up until 80% of the cells are destroyed.
i hope this helps answer your questions, but there are many auto-immune disorders and as i said they can only do tests in the recent past. And this is why so many are placing so much hope on stem cell research because they might be able to normalize the immune system and keep the disease from simply occuring again at a later date.
good luck, bret
Avatar universal
some ideas about the names
Diabetes Mellitus, which became 'sugar diabetes' diabetes is from Latin/Greek origin and means 'to pass through' because with the excessive thirst and urination, water seemed to pass through the individual with diabetes
mellitus, also Latin/Greek means honeyed after it was noticed that a diabetic's urine attracted bees and ants and other inseccts that lived on sugar. This was also called because back then about the only way of testing urine was by taste, which that God that has changed otherwise there wouldn't be so many people entering medical school.
Avatar universal
Dear handsome,

As we have all said, I am not a physician and can only give you my own personal knowledge and research.

I would just like to add rhuematoid arthritis to the list. This is a disease where the body attacks the joints. While my focus is on my son's type 1 diabetes, I was diagnosed 23 years ago with RA and do know that this is an autoimunne disease. While we push research and JDRF's mission is to find a cure, the immune system can be quite complicated.

BL beat me to my post on some of the other diseases that are considered autoimmune. I also believe ms is another one.

If you would like to look into this issue further, I would be happy to give you two sites that may help that I have confidence in. I always say to obviously take care with websites, but these two are ones that I have found helpful.

John Hopkins Medical Institutions http://autoimmune.pathology.jhmi.edu/whatisautoimmunity.htm

The National Institutes of Health

I hope these help. We would love to hear back from you, so please keep in touch.

Best, dm

Avatar universal

Beings as I just finished a course in Microbiology, in which we studied the immune system for quite a bit of the time, I thought I might show off some stuff I have learned (haha :P ).  Remember, I'm not a doctor (I am trying to be though!) and you should check with your endo on any info I provide.  

I am not familiar with the testing for T1DM, I know that my brother, mother and cousins, have all been tested due to our very strong family history, (and were thankfully negative, except for me, darn! lol).  I tested positive when I was 5 years old, and was told that I would develop diabetes in 6 months, but I made it 5 more years :)  

Autoimmune Diseases (a little background info)

There are several possible reasons for autoimmune diseases, including; genes, viral infections, estrogen, environmental factors, and failure of the immune system to remove abnormal T-cells (the ones that kill healthy, normal cells).  All of these, however, result in the abnormal T-cells evading our immune system's normal "checks-and-balances" and being released into our bodies.  Checks-and-balances are where the immune system "tests" a T-cell to make sure that a cell will not attack a healthy cell, if it does, it is sent for programmed cell death.  In type 1 diabetes mellitus, T-cells that are programmed to destroy the islets of Langerhans, which produce insulin, evade the normal "checks-and-balances" and destroy all of the islets, resulting in diabetes.    

Autoimmune Diseases (what cells are attacked):

Single Tissue:  hemolytic anemia (blood cells), Grave's disease (endocrine cells), and multiple sclerosis (nervous cells).  

Systemic (meaning, throughout the body, not confined to a single organ, tissue, cell, etc.):  systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.

We did not discuss in detail diabetes mellitus history in my class, but I do have my own personal theory on why T1DM doesn't seem to have been around until recently.  Here goes:  I think that prior to the development of insulin and ways to check blood sugars, it was likely often thought that diabetes was, in a sense, a sort of deadly flu.  You would start getting the classic symptoms, and then you would pass away, after some odd number of months of being ill.  This would still happen today, if it weren't for the advancements in technologies that have occurred.  You have to consider that many of the treatments for T1DM are really new, especially when I think about how my dad did not use a BG machine to check his BGs when he was a child, but instead checked his urine.  I'm not sure how long you have had diabetes, but can you imagine?  

After taking this class and learning about the other autoimmune diseases that can happen, I am very thankful I have diabetes.  I think it probably has the easiest treatment (check your blood sugars, give insulin and watch what you eat), when compared to the devastation that occurs with the others.

I hope this helps you some, I'm sorry this is so long, but you asked the loaded questions!  Ha, ha, just kidding.  

Avatar universal
I just found your website, not supposed to ask a question but interested in finding anything about micobacterium avium intracellulare as one dr. says it is not tb and another says it is. Help. My husband has it.
Avatar universal
Hi sudie,

I have not personally studied this bacteria.  I recommend that you go to Google.com, or another search engine and type it in, a whole lot of sites come up that can give you great information.  Please, please, discuss anything you find on those sites with your and/or his doctor.  

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