Type 1 diabetes is caused by the abnormal behavior of the human body’s immune system. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system perceives insulin-generating cells as intruders. In response, antibodies are created to destroy these cells. The targeted cells are called Beta cells and are generated by the pancreas. Diabetes Type 1 is considered a chronic metabolic condition that is generally linked to genetic complications. The disease is often diagnosed in children as their immune system is not well-developed yet.
Type 1 Diabetes: A Complex Trait
Researchers have claimed that the auto-immune response that occurs in patients with type 1 diabetes is primarily caused by gene mutations in the patient’s genetic makeup. In particular, genes in chromosome number six is susceptible. Chromosome number six also has the genes for antigens that are responsible for preventing the human immune system from attacking itself. Although the exact process of mutation is not yet fully understood, it is generally thought to be the cause of this disease.
Being a genetic condition means that it can be inherited from one generation to another. It is very common to find diabetes patients who have a history of the disease in their family.
Research in the United States has also found that type 1 diabetes is more commonly diagnosed in non-Hispanic white children as compared to other races.
Apart from genetic complications, some environmental factors may also contribute to Type 1 diabetes. Frequent viral infections may trigger the auto-destruction of beta cells by the patient’s immune system, which may increase the risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
Researchers have not confirmed a correlation between specific dietary habits and Type-1 diabetes. However, the early introduction of formula milk to infants is sometimes known to increase the risk of Type-1 diabetes.