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What are the risk factors of type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease. Pancreatic cells that produce insulin get destroyed, and the body does not have enough insulin in this condition. The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. However, it is thought to be an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks beta cells (insulin producers) in the pancreas. It is also unknown why the immune system attacks beta cells. Risk factors for type 1 diabetes include: • Genetics: The disease sometimes trails in families. A family member with type 1 diabetes makes you prone to the condition although not necessarily will you develop it. Both parents with the disease increase risk for the child more than a single parent does. Also, a father with type 1 diabetes ups the chances slightly more than a mother or sibling with the disease. • Viral Infections: Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. Specific viruses can back pedal the normal immune functions turning them against the body instead of protecting it. Viruses believed to be risky are: mumps, German measles and coxsackie. • Pre-Existing Autoimmune Disorders: Previous history of autoimmune conditions like multiple sclerosis, Addison's anemia and Graves' disease can trigger type 1 diabetes. • Early Diet: Intake of cow’s milk during infancy or early childhood is a risk factor for type 1 diabetes. • Race and Ethnicity: White races have reported higher incidence of the disorder than others. On a similar note, ethnicity may be a factor. Caucasians in the US appear to be more vulnerable than Hispanic-Americans and African-Americans. South Americans and Chinese are thought to be at a lower risk. • Geography: Those dwelling in northern countries may be at a higher risk to develop type 1 diabetes than those in southern ones. In the former case, individuals remain indoors more often and hence closer to one another, exposing themselves to increased chances of viral infections. This may also explain why more cases of the disorder are reported during winters in northern countries than in summers. Indoor dwelling is particularly prevalent during the winters.
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