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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam

What are the Risk Factors of Type 1 Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that affects how your body uses sugar (glucose) for energy. Normally, your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin that helps glucose enter your cells. But in diabetes, either your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, or your cells don’t respond well to insulin, or both. This causes high blood sugar levels, which can lead to serious health problems.


There are different types of diabetes, and one of them is called Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic disease that occurs when your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. This causes a sudden and severe lack of insulin, and people with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus need to take insulin shots every day to survive.


Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus is also known as autoimmune diabetes, because it involves an autoimmune reaction (the body attacks itself by mistake). This reaction can happen at any age, but it usually starts in childhood or young adulthood. It is less common than type 2 diabetes, which usually develops in adulthood and is more related to lifestyle factors such as obesity or family history.


But what are the risk factors for Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus? Why do some people develop this condition and others don’t? The exact cause of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus is not known, but some factors that can increase your risk include:

  • Family history: Having a parent, brother, or sister with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus increases your risk of developing it yourself. The risk is higher if both parents have it, or if the affected relative was diagnosed before age 11.

  • Genetics: Having certain genes can make you more likely to develop Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. These genes are involved in the immune system and how it responds to the cells in the pancreas. However, having these genes does not mean you will definitely get Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, as other factors also play a role.

  • Geography: The number of people who develop Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus varies by region and country. For example, it is more common in northern Europe and less common in Asia and Africa. This may be related to environmental factors such as climate, diet, infections, or exposure to certain chemicals.

  • Age: You can get Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus at any age, but it usually develops in children, teens, or young adults. The peak ages for diagnosis are between 4 and 7 years old and between 10 and 14 years old.

  • Other factors: Some other factors that may trigger or contribute to Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus include viral infections (such as mumps or rubella), stress, trauma, surgery, or exposure to certain drugs or toxins.


Currently, there is no way to prevent Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. However, you can manage it successfully by following your doctor’s recommendations for living a healthy lifestyle and taking your insulin shots as prescribed. You can also get support from your health care team support groups. You can live a long and healthy life with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus if you work closely with your doctor and follow their advice.

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