Can Type 1 Diabetes Be Prevented
Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented. Doctors can’t even tell who will get it and who won’t.
No one knows for sure what causes type 1 diabetes, but scientists think it has something to do with genes. But just getting the genes for diabetes isn’t usually enough. In most cases, a child has to be exposed to something else like a virus to get type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes isn’t contagious, so kids and teens can’t catch it from another person or pass it along to friends or family members. And eating too much sugar doesn’t cause type 1 diabetes, either.
There’s no reliable way to predict who will get type 1 diabetes, but blood tests can find early signs of it. These tests aren’t done routinely, however, because doctors don’t have any way to stop a child from developing the disease, even if the tests are positive.
Were We Meant To Eat Three Times A Day
Ive written before about the mismatch hypothesisthe idea that our genes have not caught up to our modern lifestyle. Our huntergatherer ancestors probably had periodic variation of food scarcity and hunting success and likely rarely ate three times a day. The ability of animals to deal with food deprivation is an adaptive response that is conserved across species. In times of scarcity, a mild atrophy of tissues and organs minimizes energy expenditure. Upon refeeding, the body can build these tissues back up to their normal volume .
This raises a few interesting questions: is expression of these embryonic genes in adulthood really abnormal? Or is it possible that we are meant to have transient expression of these embryonic genes periodically throughout our lifetime?; Could our constantly fed state in most of the Western world be the true abnormal gene expression pattern? I certainly hope to see more research in this area, especially in humans.
Symptoms And Risk Factors
It can take months or years for enough beta cells to be destroyed before symptoms;of type 1 diabetes are noticed. Type 1 diabetes symptoms can develop in just a few weeks or months. Once symptoms appear, they can be severe.
Some type 1 diabetes symptoms are similar to symptoms of other health conditions. Dont guessif you think you could have type 1 diabetes, see your doctor right away to get your blood sugar tested. Untreated diabetes can lead to very seriouseven fatalhealth problems.
Risk factors for type 1 diabetes are not as clear as for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, though family history is known to play a part.
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Towards The Future: Prevention And Cure
Although the first goal of immunotherapy treatments for type 1 diabetes is to stop the progression of the disease in people who still have some insulin-producing cells, this technology has potential to go beyond that.
Immunotherapy could also prevent the development of type 1 diabetes in people known to be at risk. The risk of developing type 1 diabetes can be predicted 3 to 5 years before its onset, said Vandepapelière. It could therefore be possible to prevent the disease by halting this autoimmune process early. If conducted on a nationwide scale, this could possibly eradicate the disease.
Imcyse is contemplating testing the ability of its immunotherapy to prevent type 1 diabetes. To do so, it would have to implement a wide screening, particularly in children, to identify the subjects most at risk of developing the disease. This, however, would take considerable time. A longer study is needed to demonstrate the preventive efficacy, as with most vaccine developments, said Vandepapelière.
Further down the line, but already a tangible possibility, immunotherapy could be the key to the much-wanted cure for type 1 diabetes. In patients with established type 1 diabetes, an extinction of the autoimmune and inflammatory process could regenerate the beta cells, either spontaneously or after grafting beta cells, said Vandepapelière.
This article was originally published in January 2019 and has since been updated to reflect the latest developments.
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What Is The Life Expectancy For Someone With Type 1 Diabetes
Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that people with type 1 diabetes live about 11 years less than average; however, new research also suggests this differential can be reduced with good glycemic control. Most people with type 1 diabetes die from complications of type 1 diabetes such as heart disease or kidney disease. Thus, preventing complications and following a healthy lifestyle that prevents heart disease and controls blood sugar are the best things people with type 1 diabetes can do to live a long, healthy life.
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How Can I Protect Myself From Getting Type 2 Diabetes
If you want to help keep yourself from getting type 2 diabetes or just be healthier in lots of other ways take these steps:
- Eat good-for-you foods. Try to eat foods that are low in fat and high in other nutrients like whole-grain cereals and breads, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and lean proteins. These super foods provide you with the nutrition you need to grow, but are also great for helping you get to or stay at a healthy weight, which can help prevent type 2 diabetes.
- Limit fast food and sugary sodas. Eating lots of calorie-laden fast food and sugar-filled beverages like sodas, juices, and iced teas can lead to a lot of weight gain.
- Get up and go. Staying active and decreasing the amount of time spent in sedentary activities can also help to prevent type 2 diabetes. You don’t need to join a gym or commit to three sports every school year being active can be as simple as walking the dog or mowing the lawn. Try to do something that gets you moving every day.
- If you have questions about your weight, ask. If you think you may be overweight or you’re just wondering what being healthy is all about, a doctor or a registered dietitian can help. These health care pros can help you find out what your weight goals should be and how to get there and stay there.
Can Diabetes Cause Hearing Loss
Scientists dont have firm answers yet but there appears to be a correlation between hearing loss and diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, a recent study found that hearing loss was twice as common in people with diabetes versus those who didnt have diabetes. Also, the rate of hearing loss in people with prediabetes was 30% higher compared with those who had normal blood glucose levels. Scientists think diabetes damages the blood vessels in the inner ear, but more research is needed.
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Cut Sugar And Refined Carbohydrates From Your Diet
Consumption of sugary foods or saturated sugar does not lead to diabetes always. Eating foods high in refined carbohydrates and sugar increases blood sugar and insulin levels, which may lead to diabetes over time. Some of the examples of refined carbohydrates include white bread, potatoes, and many breakfast cereals. Switch to a healthy diet with more greens and choose complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, oatmeal, and whole grains.
Staging Of Type 1 Diabetes
These birth cohort studies, in addition to non-birth cohorts such as the large Diabetes Prevention Trial-Type 1 and the Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet Pathway to Prevention studies have allowed us to further characterize the time period before diagnosis. Although the actual diagnosis of diabetes has traditionally been based on American Diabetes Association criteria , it is clear that the onset of the disease per se, often occurs years before the onset of symptoms. Thus, pre-type 1 diabetes is a unique physiologic state where autoimmunity is present and progression to metabolic derangement and clinical onset can be predicted especially in younger children and adolescents. As such, the ADA, JDRF, and Endocrine Society released a joint position statement for the staging of pre-type 1 diabetes 2) . Stage 1 is defined by the presence of 2 or more islet autoantibodies with normoglycemia . Stage 2 shows progression to dysglycemia in the setting of 2 or more islet autoantibodies, and stage 3 occurs when a patient meets ADA criteria for the diagnosis of diabetes.
Early stages of type 1 diabetes. Reproduced with permission from Insel et al. .
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Management Essentials For Type 1 Diabetes
Working closely with your doctor can help you develop an effective diabetes management plan to control your blood sugar, says Dr. Zaidi, the author of “Take Charge of Your Diabetes.” Plan a healthy diet that you’ll stick to and a workout schedule with regular exercise. Whether you give yourself insulin with injections or have an insulin pump, a huge part of controlling type 1 diabetes is knowing how much insulin you need and when you need it. Here are nine ways to help prevent or delay complications from uncontrolled type 1 diabetes.
Killing Rebel Immune Cells
In type 1 diabetes, cells in the immune system wrongly recognize the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as foreign and dangerous, said Vandepapelière. Our objective is to interrupt this autoimmune process.
Imcyse is developing an immunotherapy that involves injecting a molecule that makes the system produce a new type of immune cell. These cells will specifically kill those immune cells that destroy the pancreas.
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Does Eating Sugary Foods Cause Diabetes
Sugar itself doesn’t directly cause diabetes. Eating foods high in sugar content can lead to weight gain, which is a risk factor for developing diabetes. Eating more sugar than recommended American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons a day for women and nine teaspoons for men leads to all kinds of health harms in addition to weight gain.
These health harms are all risk factors for the development of diabetes or can worsen complications. Weight gain can:
- Raise blood pressure, cholesterol and trigelyceride levels.
- Increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Cause fat buildup in your liver.
- Cause tooth decay.
Immunotherapy: Attacking The Origin
Immunotherapy is mostly known as a modern treatment for allergies, where a person is exposed to a small amount of what they are allergic to in order to train the immune system to tolerate it. The principle of modulating the immune system to either attack or tolerate specific targets has gained a lot of recognition in recent years thanks to its potential to treat all sorts of diseases where the immune system is involved, including cancer and neurodegenerative conditions.
As autoimmune diseases are directly caused by the immune system, immunotherapies have started being investigated as an approach to treat a number of different autoimmune conditions, among them type 1 diabetes.
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How Often Do I Need To See My Primary Diabetes Healthcare Professional
In general, if you are being treated with insulin shots, you should see your doctor at least every three to four months. If you are treated with pills or are managing diabetes through diet, you should be seen at least every four to six months. More frequent visits may be needed if your blood sugar is not controlled or if complications of diabetes are worsening.
How Is Diabetes Diagnosed
Diabetes is diagnosed and managed by checking your glucose level in a blood test. There are three tests that can measure your blood glucose level: fasting glucose test, random glucose test and A1c test.
- Fasting plasma glucose test: This test is best done in the morning after an eight hour fast .
- Random plasma glucose test: This test can be done any time without the need to fast.
- A1c test: This test, also called HbA1C or glycated hemoglobin test, provides your average blood glucose level over the past two to three months. This test measures the amount of glucose attached to hemoglobin, the protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen. You dont need to fast before this test.
- Oral glucose tolerance test: In this test, blood glucose level is first measured after an overnight fast. Then you drink a sugary drink. Your blood glucose level is then checked at hours one, two and three.
|Type of test|
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Who Gets Diabetes What Are The Risk Factors
Factors that increase your risk differ depending on the type of diabetes you ultimately develop.
Risk factors for Type 1 diabetes include:
- Having a family history of Type 1 diabetes.
- Injury to the pancreas .
- Presence of autoantibodies .
- Physical stress .
- Exposure to illnesses caused by viruses.
Risk factors for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes include:
- Family history of prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.
- Being African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian-American race or Pacific Islander.
- Being overweight.
Risk factors for gestational diabetes include:
- Family history of prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.
- Being African-American, Hispanic, Native American or Asian-American.
- Being overweight before your pregnancy.
- Being over 25 years of age.
What Should I Do Next
If you experience any symptoms of type 1 diabetes or you have risk factors for developing type 1 diabetes, it is important to get tested for as soon as possible. Some people are at higher risk and need regular testing.By diagnosing and treating the type 1 diabetes early, it means you can decrease the risk of developing or delay any further health complications of type 1 diabetes, for example nerve damage, blindness, and heart disease. It is important to know that diagnosing type 1 diabetes should not rely solely on using a Hb A1c test.
Once you learn what your type 1 diagnosis is, or if you already have type 1 diabetes, the next most important step is to become educated. You can join the 12-week Type 1 Diabetes Program to help you learn how best to manage the condition. For example, you can learn how best to monitor blood glucose levels in type 1 diabetes. The program is personalised and tailored, giving you more of the content that you want. The program also helps you to stay motivated and teaches you what changes you need to make. The first week is free and full of helpful and crucial information.
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How To Master Type 1 Diabetes Management
Having type 1 diabetes puts you at greater risk for a number of health complications including infection, kidney failure, and blindness. But by controlling your blood sugar, you can prevent or delay the onset of many of these complications. Making healthy lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, and taking your diabetes medications as prescribed can help you manage your blood sugar. Need a target goal? Your A1C, the blood test that indicates your average blood sugar over a three-month period, is an excellent starting point. “If you keep your A1C under 7, it will help prevent complications,” says Sarfraz Zaidi, MD, director of the Jamila Diabetes and Endocrine Medical Center and an endocrinologist at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Preventing Heart Disease And Stroke
Your heart health can be at greater risk if you have type 1 diabetes. If you’re overweight, smoke, and don’t control your blood sugar well, you could be two to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than someone without type 1 diabetes is. Excess sugar in your blood can damage blood vessel walls. Controlling your blood sugar can reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke from damaged blood vessels by more than 50 percent. Losing weight, not smoking, and keeping your blood pressure in check can all help, too.
Can Diabetes Be Cured Or Reversed
Although these seem like simple questions, the answers are not so simple. Depending on the type of your diabetes and its specific cause, it may or may not be possible to reverse your diabetes. Successfully reversing diabetes is more commonly called achieving remission.
Type 1 diabetes is an immune system disease with some genetic component. This type of diabetes cant be reversed with traditional treatments. You need lifelong insulin to survive. Providing insulin through an artificial pancreas is the most advanced way of keeping glucose within a tight range at all times most closely mimicking the body. The closest thing toward a cure for Type 1 is a pancreas transplant or a pancreas islet transplant. Transplant candidates must meet strict criteria to be eligible. Its not an option for everyone and it requires taking immunosuppressant medications for life and dealing with the side effects of these drugs.
Its possible to reverse prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes with a lot of effort and motivation. Youd have to reverse all your risk factors for disease. To do this means a combination of losing weight, exercising regularly and eating healthy . These efforts should also lower your cholesterol numbers and blood pressure to within their normal range. Bariatric surgery has been shown to achieve remission in some people with Type 2 diabetes. This is a significant surgery that has its own risks and complications.
Teaming Up With Bacteria
The bacteria in our gut have a strong connection with our immune system. ActoBio, a company based in Belgium, wants to exploit this connection to treat type 1 diabetes.;Our product candidates are based on the use of Lactococcus lactis bacteria that are genetically modified to express proteins, peptides, antibodies or human cytokines, Lothar Steidler, CTO of ActoBio, told me.
Our guts are familiar to this bacterium, as its used to produce cheese and buttermilk. In the case of type 1 diabetes, the bacteria are engineered to produce the insulin precursor human proinsulin and a signaling molecule called interleukin 10. Together they signal the gut-associated lymphoid tissue, where immune cells are stored, to restore the tolerance of insulin-producing cells with the goal of slowing down or stopping their destruction.
It is potentially a safe oral treatment that will be given for a limited period of time and could lead to patients who develop type 1 diabetes not needing to use insulin, or delay the need for insulin after diagnosis added Pieter Rottiers, CEO of ActoBio.
The company is now running a phase I/II clinical trial in the US and Europe in people with type 1 diabetes as young as 12 years old. Patients will have to have some remaining capacity for production of insulin, said Rottiers. Results are expected this year.
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