Type I Diabetes is not as common as Type II and only 5-10% of diabetic patients suffer from Type I diabetes. It is diagnosed mostly in children and teens, but can extent to up to 30 years of age. Type I Diabetes is most common in patients of Caucasian decent. Type I Diabetes, an autoimmune disease, occurs due to low production or non-production of insulin by pancreas.  In this type of Diabetes insulin producing beta cells in pancreas are destroyed by patient’s body’s immune system.

Diabetes is a chronic disease which is identified by the presence of high levels of blood sugar. Diabetes is of mainly three types, Type I, Type II and Gestational Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the pancreas ceases to produce insulin. Patients of Type I Diabetes need to have insulin injections to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. This type of Diabetes is also known as ‘insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus’ and was formerly called ‘juvenile diabetes’ because Type I Diabetes typically starts at an early age. The pancreas ceases to produce insulin as a result of many different causes, some of which are mentioned below

Family History:  A patient, who has a family history of Type I Diabetes, is more prone to developing this disease. Having a parent or sibling with type I diabetes increases the risk of developing Type I Diabetes.

Genetics: Research has concluded that genes or genetics could trigger the development of the disease. Scientists continue to study genetics and it’s link to Type 1 Diabetes.

Geography: Statistics of diabetes distribution worldwide shows a significant rise in diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes patients who are geographically further from the equator. These same studies also show that these same populations are at a higher risk for developing the disease. Residents of Finland and Sardinia demonstrate the highest incidence of Type I Diabetes per capita with an almost three times higher rate than that of the United States.

Race:  Race also affects the development of Type I Diabetes. People of certain ethnicities or ethnic origin are at higher risk of developing Type I Diabetes. White people have higher rate of risk, when compared to Black, Asian, or Hispanic ethnic groups. This disease is most common in people of non-Hispanic, Northern European especially from Finland and Sardinian descent. African Americans and Hispanic Americans are also at higher risk of developing Type I Diabetes. Whereas as people with Asian descent are at low risk of developing Diabetes Type I. This type of Diabetes is more common in men compared to women.

Islet Cell Antibodies in the Blood: The presence of Islet cell antibodies in the blood increases risk of developing Type I Diabetes. This risk elevates if the patient has a family history of Type I Diabetes as well.

Viral Infection: Some viral infections are also associated with development of Type I Diabetes. Epstein-Barr virus, coxsackievirus, mumps virus or cytomegalo virus are some of the viruses which can trigger the autoimmune destruction of the islet cells or infect the islet cells, resulting in Type I Diabetes. Infection with these viruses could act as a catalyst for the development of Type I Diabetes.

Low Vitamin D Levels: Some research indicates that patients with low levels of Vitamin D are more likely to develop Type I Diabetes as vitamin D acts as a protective agent against Type I Diabetes.

Other Dietary Factors: Dietary factors also guide early or delayed onset of Type I Diabetes. Omega-3 fatty acids are said to protect against Type I Diabetes. Nitrates in drinking water increase the risk of developing Type I Diabetes. Early introduction of cereals into infant diet may also increase risk of developing Type I Diabetes.

Pregnancy Complications: If a pregnant mom has pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, it increases the chances that baby will develop Type I Diabetes later in life.

Birth/Early Infancy Illness: Being ill in early infancy could also trigger the onset of Type I Diabetes as it weakens the immune system and the infant becomes more prone to develop autoimmune diseases. Children born with jaundice or having respiratory infections just after birth also have increased risk of Type I Diabetes.

Having an Older Mother: Children born to late-in-life mothers are at a higher risk of developing Type I Diabetes. Pregnancy in advanced age exposes the infant to risks of Type I Diabetes.

Other Autoimmune Disorders: If a patient is suffering from other autoimmune diseases such as Grave’s Disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Addison’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), or Pernicious Anemia, they are at higher risk of developing Type I Diabetes.