What are the causes of type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes happens when the pancreas in the body stops producing insulin which is essential for absorption of blood glucose into body cells. It is caused due to damage of the insulin producing cells by the immune system of the person’s own body. The immune system mistakenly recognises the β cells of pancreas (insulin producing cells) as harmful and destroys them; thereby the pancreas cannot make insulin anymore. Normally, cell destruction takes place over years but symptoms appear rather quickly and by the time of diagnosis, when most of cells would have already been destroyed.
An exact cause of this specific immune-mediated destruction remains unknown. Most often, type 1 diabetes can be genetic putting anyone at 6% risk of type 1 diabetes when a parent or siblings are diabetic, whereas otherwise the risk is under 0.5%. When people are born, the genes are hereditarily transferred from their biological parents. Many genes are involved in making a person susceptible to type 1 diabetes or offering protection from type 1 diabetes.
Most likely reason for this form of diabetes is a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors. Various environmental factors that can be responsible for type 1 diabetes include – certain viruses, bacteria and other factors like cow’s milk. These act as triggers to the immune response in one’s body to destruct the β cells.
Likelihood for type I diabetes with a positive family history of type I diabetes.