Type 1 diabetes is usually a progressive autoimmune disease, in which the beta cells that produce insulin are slowly destroyed by the body's own immune system. It is unknown what first starts this cascade of immune events, but evidence suggests that both a genetic predisposition and environmental factors, such as a viral infection, are involved. Some research suggests that viral infections may trigger the disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Most people who develop type 1 diabetes, however, do not have a family history of the disease. The odds of inheriting the disease are only 10% if a first-degree relative has diabetes, and even in identical twins, one twin has only a 33% chance of having type 1 diabetes if the other has it. Children are more likely to inherit the disease from a father with type 1 diabetes than from a mother with the disorder.
Genetic factors cannot fully explain the development of diabetes. Over the past 40 years, a major increase in the incidence of type 1 diabetes has been reported. There is no known way to prevent Type 1 diabetes, and it is NOT caused by poor diet, too much sugar, obesity, or lack of exercise. Because Type 1 diabetes is not preventable, some people say it is a “genetic” form of diabetes. It can also run strong in families, although about 80% of Type 1 diabetics have no family members with the disease. This has to do with the complex genetics involved. Not everyone in the family will inherit those genes or be exposed to the triggers. Type 1 diabetes is a multi factorial and polygenetic disease. If you do have the gene and you are exposed to the virus you may develop the autoimmune condition where the beta cells of the pancreas are destroyed and you develop Type 1 diabestes.
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