Pakistani actor Fawad Khan has a strong fan base in India, thanks to his Bollywood films like Khoobsurat and Kapoor & Sons. His die-hard fans already know about the Humsafar actor being a diabetic. In a recent interview with YouTube channel FreeStyle Middle East, he talked about about being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 17. He shared that he used to weigh 65 kg, but dropped down to 55 kg at that time. A doctor gave him insulin then and he has been on it since then. Celebrity or not, diabetes can arrive anytime in anyone’s lives. Read on to find out factors that can raise your risk for type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes might be hitting the headlines more, but type 1 also needs attention. That’s because World Health Organization shared that six years ago, there were about nine million people with type 1 diabetes.
So, Health Shots reached out to Dr Rajeshwari Janakiraman, Chief Consultant – Diabetology and Endocrinology, Manipal Hospital, Yeshwanthpur, Bengaluru to know everything about type 1 diabetes and its possible risk factors.
What is type 1 diabetes?
Since type 1 diabetes is generally seen in early childhood and rarely in grown ups, it is also called juvenile diabetes. It is basically insulin-dependent diabetes. Dr Janakiraman shares that in this type of diabetes, the insulin-producing cells, called the beta cells, are attacked by autoimmune cells. This makes the beta cells stop working and there is no insulin production by the pancreas. It means that right from day one of the diagnosis of diabetes, you will require external insulin for controlling your blood sugar.
As there is no insulin production in type 1 diabetes, those diagnosed with it have to depend on external insulin. They cannot survive without external insulin, unlike other diabetics who only take insulin to control their sugar levels, says the expert. She shares that in India and worldwide, type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2 diabetes. In India, about 5 percent or lesser people with diabetes might be type 1.
Factors that can raise your risk for type 1 diabetes
Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes is not a lifestyle-driven disease. It is an autoimmune condition, but the exact causes that trigger this autoimmune reaction are undetermined, says Dr Janakiraman. Some of the possible risk factors for type 1 diabetes include:
1. Family history
If you have someone in your family like a parent or sibling with type 1 diabetes, it increases the risk of having the same type. And if both the parents have type 1 diabetes, the risk is even higher.
Type 1 diabetes generally develops in teenagers and kids. It might occur at any age, but developing type 1 diabetes later in life is not common.
3. Autoimmune conditions
Autoimmunity could be due to some particular genetic predisposition or triggered following some viral infections. Also, people with other autoimmune conditions such as arthritis or thyroid may be at a higher risk of developing type 1 diabetes, says the expert.
4. Consumption of cow milk in early childhood
According to a study published by National Library of Medicine, early exposure to cow milk raises the risk of type 1 diabetes in high risk children, which means those who have a first degree relative with type 1 diabetes. Dr Janakiraman also says that the complex proteins in cow milk might increase the risk of type 1 diabetes in genetically predisposed people.
Managing type 1 diabetes
The most crucial factor in managing type 1 diabetes is the recognition or diagnosis of diabetes. Since type 1 diabetes affects young children, kids show sudden and dramatic changes like sudden weight loss, increased thirst and urination. Early identification and prompt initiation of treatment will help to manage the condition better and also avoid undesirable complications such as severe dehydration, malnutrition and coma.
While regular insulin doses are needed, proper diet and lifestyle adjustments are also essential.