A person’s age is a type 1 diabetes risk factor. While people can experience the onset of T1D at any age, many are diagnosed in early elementary school or as preteens, with ages 10-14 having the highest occurrence of diagnoses.
Research has not found a definite environmental trigger for type 1 diabetes. Viruses and exposure to gluten, cow’s milk, antibiotics, and more have all been extensively studied. “The evidence has not been conclusive,” says Laura Jacobsen, assistant professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Florida. “It may be because there are multiple or different triggers for different subsets of the population.”
JDRF will continue funding research to determine if and how a person’s environment is a type 1 diabetes risk factor.
Ethnic and Geographic Triggers
The risk for type 1 diabetes has historically been highest in those with white European ancestry. However, the diversity of the population with T1D is increasing, meaning the risk is going up in minority populations. Research is ongoing in this area to address this increasingly global problem. Visit the T1D Index for a detailed look at instances of type 1 diabetes around the world.
Geographically, there are countries where the risk of T1D is higher than others, but “ultimately it is underlying genetics that impact risk,” Jacobsen said.
Researchers are still trying to understand how and why genes and environment are type 1 diabetes risk factors. JDRF continues to fund this research so that we will one day learn how to prevent, reverse, and cure T1D.
Living with the burden of T1D can be overwhelming at times, but you’re never alone. The JDRF community has your back.
Visit https://www.jdrf.org/community/ to connect with us.