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A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition. It is possible to develop type 1 diabetes with or without the risk factors listed below. There are no known definite risk factors. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing type 1 diabetes. The main risk factors include the following:

If you have a parent, brother, or sister with type 1 diabetes, you (or your child) are at greater risk of having it, too. Scientists continue to believe that genetic factors play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes, but which genes is unclear.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, caused by the body's immune system attacking the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. You may be at a greater risk of developing type 1 diabetes if you have another condition that affects the immune system, such as:

You are at an increased risk of type 1 diabetes if your ethnicity is:

  • Northern European
  • Mediterranean
  • African American
  • Hispanic

Other factors that may increase your child's risk of type 1 diabetes include:

  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Bottle-feeding or short duration of breastfeeding
  • High birth weight
  • Obesity during childhood
  • Mothers age at childbirth (over 35 years)
References:

Diabetes causes. National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/. Accessed December 31, 2012.

Diabetes type 1. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated December 28, 2012. Accessed December 31, 2012.

Schatz D, Krischer J, Horne G, et al. Islet cell antibodies predict insulin-dependent diabetes in United States school age children as powerfully as in unaffected relatives. J Clin Invest. 1994;93:2403-2407.

TRIGR study: a new trial investigates environmental triggers in type 1 diabetes [press release]. Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International website. Available at: http://www.jdrf.org. August 7, 2002. Accessed December 31, 2012.

Type 1 diabetes. American Diabetes Association website. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/. Accessed December 31, 2012.

3/12/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Cardwell CR, Stene LC, Joner G, et al. Birthweight and the risk of childhood-onset type 1 diabetes: a meta-analysis of observational studies using individual patient data. Diabetologia. 2010 Jan 10. [Epub ahead of print]

3/12/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Cardwell CR, Stene LC, Joner G, et al. Maternal age at birth and childhood type 1 diabetes: a pooled analysis of 30 observational studies. Diabetes. 2010;59(2):486-494.

4/1/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/: Verbeeten KC, Elks CE, Daneman D, Ong KK. Association between childhood obesity and subsequent Type 1 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabet Med. 2011;28(1):10-18.

Last reviewed September 2013 by Kim Carmichael, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


 
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