Diabetes Types

Know detailed information on diabetes, diabetes symptoms, signs, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes

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Environmental Triggers

What exactly triggers the autoimmune system to self destruct is not clear, but studies have implicated several viable theories. Environmental toxins, a virus, or a medication may be the final physiological straw for someone genetically predisposed to the disease.

As of early 2003, clinical studies had implicated fourteen different viruses in beta cell damage and the development of type 1 diabetes, including adenovirus, coxsackie B virus, mumps virus, enteroviruses, rubella virus, cytomegalovirus, and Epstein Barr virus. It's important to remember, however, that developing one of these viruses does not guarantee you will develop type 1 diabetes; specific genetic programming for the disease must also be present.

Cow's Milk

Exposure to cow's milk and cow's milk based formula before one year of age has been associated with the development of type 1 diabetes in some studies, although other research has found no link. Study results are also mixed on the role of dietary proteins and their association with the development of autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes in both animal and human trials. In late 2002, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and several other governmental and advocacy organizations announced a large scale, multinational study called TRIGR (Trial to Reduce Insulin Dependent Diabetes in the Genetically at Risk). TRIGR will be the first large scale, long term study to assess the relationship of infant formula consumption in relation to the likelihood of developing type 1 diabetes in infants considered genetically at risk for developing the disease. The two year study will involve 6,000 families in fourteen countries, and will hopefully determine with certainty the association, if any, between type 1 diabetes and milk proteins.

E Fact

Clinical research has found that babies who breastfeed at least three months have a lower incidence of type 1 diabetes, and may be less likely to become obese as adults.

Other Causes of Beta Cell Destruction

Certain toxins, drugs, genetic defects, and diseases of the pancreas can also cause beta cell destruction, leading to diabetes mellitus. The occurrence of diabetes in this category is relatively rare an estimated 1 to 5 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As such, their causes and specific treatments are not covered in this book.