Pathophysiology for Type 1 Diabetes

Pathophysiology is a term that describes the biological and functional changes that take place in the human body as a result of a disease. Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the insulin-secreting cells in the human body are destroyed, thereby causing an abnormal increase in blood glucose levels. Several genetic, environmental and immunologic factors may lead to the destruction of these cells.

Genetic Factors

Several genetic factors are known to contribute to the destruction of the insulin-secreting cells and are typically inherited down the family. These include HLA (human leucocyte antigen), which is a gene in chromosome 6, insulin-VNTR gene in chromosome 11, and CTLA-4 on chromosome 4. The presence of these genes damage other genes in the same chromosomes – the damaged genes are responsible for monitoring the immune system and preventing it from attacking healthy cells in the body.

Environmental Factors

Viruses such as rubella and enteroviruses have been found to impact the human immune system and push it to self-destroy it’s beta cells that secrete insulin. Also, specific dietary practices followed with infants may cause Type 1 diabetes as they grow older. These include formula milk and certain types of cereals.

Immunologic Factors

The human immune system molecules go through a number of tolerance mechanisms in which they technically practice how to distinguish foreign bodies from the person’s internal components. Reduction in the immune tolerance mechanism of the body has been shown to lead to Type 1 diabetes.

Impacts of Insulin Deficiency

Insulin deficiency for Type 1 diabetes patients occurs due to the self-destruction of the beta cells. This deficiency of insulin means that the glucose output from the liver increases and the blood glucose level increases. In turn, this makes it difficult for the muscle tissues to absorb glucose effectively. Glucose deprivation in the tissues causes significant undesirable weight loss along with other metabolic abnormalities. This, in the long run, produces a number of complications including an increase in blood acidity, which may cause ketoacidosis.