Most people that develop Type 1 diabetes are suspected of coming into contact with something in the environment that triggers the destruction of their beta cells. Doctors seem to think that a number of viruses could be responsible for triggering such a response. They also believe that the same or similar viruses are responsible for the common cold. Some researchers believe that individuals that come down with Type 1 diabetes contract it from a virus just as one would when catching a cold. They come in contact with an infected person, perhaps through sneezing, but because they have a predisposition or genetic tendency, they get type 1 diabetes.
The diabetic condition in the body of those affected is created when a particular virus attacks the pancreas directly and stifles the body’s ability to produce insulin. Sometimes a substance that is naturally present in the body can be a part of the virus that causes diabetes. If the virus and your pancreas have the same substance, the antibodies that your body produces to fight off the virus will also seek to destroy the shared substance in your pancreas, leaving you in the same situation as if the virus itself attacked your pancreas.
Researchers also believe that only about 10 percent of patients who come down with type 1 diabetes actually need a trigger at all. In their cases it is simply an auto immune destruction of the beta cells. If a person happens to be in this category, he/she may have other autoimmune diseases, such as autoimmune thyroid disease.
Would it interest you to know how likely you are to develop type 1 diabetes if someone in your family already has it? Over the years, some interesting data has been collected in connection with that question. Here are some facts about the genetics of diabetes:
- Your risk of of developing type 1 diabetes is less than 1 percent if none of the genetic material associated with diabetes is the same as your sibling with diabetes.
- Your risk of of getting type 1 diabetes drops to 5 percent if you have only your genetic material in common with your sibling who has diabetes.
- You have about a 20 percent chance of getting diabetes if your sibling develops the disease, meaning that you and your sibling are identical twins.
- The odds are only 3 to 4 percent that you will get it if you get half of your genetic material from each parent and only one parent has diabetes
What do these facts show? Well, they show that these relatively low chances of both siblings getting diabetes clearly show that more factors than a person’s genetic makeup from their parents are involved in acquiring diabetes.