What Causes Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes: Causes. Autoimmunity. Vaccine Safety. Progression.


Why are children prone to type 1 diabetes?
Is it an autoimmune disease, a genetic disorder or a complication of childhood infections?
Are vaccines safe for children?
Oh! So many questions cloud parents mind.
Naturally so! It does get confusing.
Frequently a new trigger factor is linked to childhood diabetes. Moreover, more and more children are being diagnosed to be suffering from this incurable chronic disease. 

Insulin dependent diabetes

  • Regular and well monitored insulin replacement therapy helps children with type 1 diabetes (T1D) lead an active normal life, but the disease is not curable.

  • In spite of all precautions taken intermittent blood sugar imbalances are common, and complication often set in over years. 

  • Children with type 1 diabetes are therefore dependent on insulin supplementation to maintain their round the clock blood sugar levels.

Causative factors simplified

Disturbed physiology of T1D sets in much before the clinical presentation of the disease, usually in early childhood; 85% of teenagers and children with diabetes suffer from from T1D.  It is therefore commonly known as “Juvenile Diabetes”. 

Juvenile diabetes is multifactorial metabolic disorder.

It is caused by complex interaction of child’s innate genetic predisposition and environmental factors that accidentally trigger body’s immune system. But then autoimmunity markers are much more prevalent than the disease itself, which indicate that trigger of autoimmunity is essential but not a sufficient cause for development of clinical childhood diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes Pathogenesis

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Genetic concept

  • Many different genetic loci determine child’s susceptibility to diabetes, but all genetically predisposed children do not develop the disease.

  • Genetic predisposition only increases the chances of developing juvenile diabetes:
    Even an identical twin of a diabetic child has only 30-60% chances of developing the disease.

  • Genetic predisposition accounts for only a quarter of all type 1 diabetes patients.

  • Risk associated with familial predisposition:
    Siblings of a diabetic are at 15-20 fold higher risk for developing the disease when compared with that in general population. Same is true for children whose parents are known to be diabetic. Statistically the chances of child developing clinical diabetes is yet 3 fold higher if the father is a diabetic than if the mother is a diabetic. And 3% of the parents of children with diabetes later develop the disease.

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Type 1 Diabetes: Causes. Autoimmunity. Vaccine Safety. Progression.

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Childhood Diabetes

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