Type 1 diabetes used to be referred to as juvenile diabetes as it was found to develop more frequently in children. How many kids develop type 1 diabetes? What is the childhood risk of developing type 1 diabetes?
Risk Factors for Children and Type 1 Diabetes. There is a genetic predisposition for type 1 diabetes. However, researchers have found that an environmental trigger is necessary for the disease to develop. With the combination of genetic factors and environmental triggers, the percentage of children with type 1 diabetes is increasing every year.
Genetic Factors Risk. Researchers are discovering certain genes or combinations of genes may be responsible for the development of type 1 diabetes. Genetic risk factors include:
-Type 1 diabetes is more prevalent in whites. According to the website Children with Diabetes, about 0.4% of caucasian children will develop diabetes before they turn 20 years old.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 151,000 children in North America have type 1 diabetes, with more than 13,000 new cases in children being diagnosed every year.
-If a parent or sibling has type 1 diabetes, the risk of a child developing this disease increases 10-20%.
-Which parent has type 1 diabetes may be a determining factor. If the father has diabetes, the child’s risk if about 10%. If the mother has diabetes, the risk can be 0.01-0.04%, depending on the age of the mother at the birth of the child. The risk for type 1 diabetes increases if the mother was younger than 25, and decreases over the age of 25.
Environmental Triggers. Although a genetic disposition is necessary to develop this type of diabetes, studies in twins have proven an environmental trigger is necessary. If one of a set of twins develops type 1 diabetes, the other still only has less than 50% chance of developing the disease. The most studied environmental triggers include:
-Certain viruses have been found to increase autoantibodies which may lead to the development of type 1 diabetes in children. These include enteroviruses, measles and rotavirus.
-Vitamin D deficiency may play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes.
-Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed more frequently in children in winter months. It is also more prevalent in countries such as Finland. Researchers don’t know if the cold weather itself affects the development of the disease. In colder month, viruses are more common. Also, with less sunlight, vitamin D deficiency is more common during winter months.
-Consuming cow’s milk before 1 year of age and products containing gluten before 6 months of age are believed to be dietary factors that may increase a child’s risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
Childhood Risk of Developing Type 1 Diabetes. Although certain risk factors and combinations of risk factors are found to lead to more cases of type 1 diabetes in children, it is important to remember that not everyone who is susceptible develops this disease. Keep up on childhood physical examinations and talk with your child’s doctor about your child’s risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
THIS ARTICLE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT MEANT TO DIAGNOSE OR TREAT ANY MEDICAL CONDITION.
Children with Diabetes; The Risk of Developing Type 1 Diabetes
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Diabetes Public Health Resources, Children and Diabetes – More Information
Jolynne M Hudnell; Viral Triggers to Type 1 Diabetes; Associated Content/Yahoo!
American Diabetes Association; Diabetes Basics, Genetics of Diabetes