Type 1 diabetes


Martina Feichter

Martina Feichter studied biology in Innsbruck with an optional subject in pharmacy and also immersed herself in the world of medicinal plants. From there it was not far to other medical topics that still captivate her today. She trained as a journalist at the Axel Springer Academy in Hamburg and has been working for lifelikeinc.com since 2007 - first as an editor and since 2012 as a freelance author.

More about the lifelikeinc.com experts Type 1 diabetes is the rarer form of diabetes. In Germany about 200,000 people suffer from it. Your pancreas does not produce enough or no insulin. Patients must therefore inject the hormone insulin regularly throughout their lives in order to lower their elevated blood sugar levels. Read more about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of diabetes type 1!

ICD codes for this disease: ICD codes are internationally valid medical diagnosis codes. They are found e.g. in medical reports or on incapacity certificates. E10Article OverviewDiabetes Type 1

  • Quick Overview
  • Causes and risk factors
  • symptoms
  • Examinations and diagnosis
  • Diabetes Test
  • treatment
  • Disease course and prognosis

Type 1 diabetes: short overview

  • Reason: Autoimmune disease (antibodies destroy the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas); Genetic and other factors (such as infections) are thought to be involved in disease development
  • Age of onset: mostly childhood or youth
  • Common symptoms: severe thirst, increased urination, weight loss, dizziness, nausea, weakness, in extreme cases, impaired consciousness or unconsciousness
  • Important investigations: Measurement of blood glucose and HbA1c, oral glucose tolerance test (oGTT), autoantibody screening test
  • Treatment: insulin therapy
To the table of contents

Type 1 diabetes: causes and risk factors

Type 1 diabetes is also called juvenile (adolescent) diabetes because it is usually already in the Childhood and adolescence, sometimes in early adulthood. The body's own antibodies destroy the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. Once these autoantibodies have destroyed about 80 percent of beta cells, type 1 diabetes becomes noticeable due to greatly increased blood glucose levels:

The destruction of the beta cells creates a lack of insulin. This hormone normally causes circulating sugar (glucose) in the blood to reach the cells of the body, where it serves as an energy source. Insulin deficiency causes the sugar in the blood to accumulate.

Why the immune system in people with diabetes mellitus type 1 attacks the beta cells of the pancreas, is not yet clear. Scientists suspect that genes and other influencing factors play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes: Genetic causes

About 10 to 15 percent of diabetes type 1 patients under the age of 15 have a first-degree relative (father, sister, etc.) who also has diabetes. That speaks for a genetic predisposition. Researchers already have multiple gene changes identified as associated with the development of type 1 diabetes. As a rule, there are several gene changes that together lead to diabetes mellitus type 1.

A group of genes that are located almost exclusively on chromosome 6 seems to be particularly influential: The so-called human leukocyte antigen system (HLA system) has a significant influence on the control of the immune system. Certain HLA constellations such as HLA-DR3 and HLA-DR4 are associated with an increased risk of diabetes 1.

Generally, however, diabetes type 1 is apparent less inheritable as a type 2. Thus, in identical twins, almost always both develop diabetes type 2. In type 1 diabetes, this is observed only in about every third identical twins.

Type 1 diabetes: other influencing factors

The emergence of type 1 diabetes could also be different external factors to be influenced. In this context, researchers discuss:

  • too short a lactation after birth
  • too early a dose of cow's milk to children
  • too early use of gluten-containing foods
  • Toxins like Nitrosamine

You might as well infectious diseases contribute to, or at least promote, the dysregulation of the immune system in type 1 diabetes. Mumps, measles, rubella and Coxsackie virus infections are suspected.

It is also striking that diabetes mellitus type 1 often along with other autoimmune diseases occurs. These include, for example, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, gluten intolerance (celiac disease), Addison's disease and autoimmune gastritis (type A gastritis).

Finally, there are also hints that damaged nerve cells could be involved in the onset of type 1 diabetes in the pancreas.

Between type 1 and type 2: LADA diabetes

LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes in adults) is a rare form of diabetes that is sometimes considered to be late-onset type 1 diabetes. However, there are also overlaps with type 2 diabetes:

As with "classic" type 1 diabetes, LADA can also detect diabetes-specific autoantibodies in the blood - but only one type (GADA), while type 1 diabetics have at least two different types of diabetes antibodies.

Another common feature of type 1 diabetes is that LADA patients tend to be rather lean.

While type 1 diabetes almost always occurs in childhood and adolescence, LADA patients are usually older than 35 years at diagnosis. This is similar to the type 2 diabetes (the age of onset is usually after the 40th year of life).

The slow disease development of LADA is also more comparable to type 2 diabetes. In many LADA patients, a change in diet and treatment with hypoglycemic tablets (oral antidiabetic agents) will initially be sufficient to lower the elevated blood glucose levels. This is how the therapy looks in many type 2 diabetics. As the disease progresses, LADA patients usually need insulin injections - in type 1 diabetes, these are vital to life right from the start.

Because of the variety of overlaps, LADA patients are often diagnosed as Type 1 or Type 2 diabetics. Sometimes the LADA is also considered simply as a hybrid of both major types of diabetes. In the meantime, however, it is more likely that both diseases are present at the same time as LADA and develop in parallel.