Why Type 1 Diabetes Is Becoming More Common?

Published: 05th August 2010
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Research has shown that type 1 diabetes is growing at about three per cent per year. The question on the researcher's minds is why. There was a time when the primary patients diagnosed with type 1 diabetes was 3 to 5 years of age. Not it is being diagnosed in teenagers and older people as well.

The theories range from obesity to genetics to living in too clean an environment. Other hypotheses include rapid growth, too little sun, too much milk and too much pollution.

1. Growing too quickly.

It is thought that the additional stress put on the child's body and organs can be a causative factor in the development of the disease.

2. The hygiene hypothesis

This tells us that in the days of old when people, including children had their primary home on a farm and interacted with animals that the disease was less common. The super hygienic world that we have created has caused us to lose some of the immunities to various illnesses, including diabetes. Researchers have gone so far as to recommend in ingestion of parasites, as people had frequently in the past, in order to allow the body to build up its autoimmune systems.

3. Cow's milk has also been tagged as a possible cause. By exposing infants to formula that contains cow's milk in the first months of life causes their immune system to malfunction and causing an autoimmune disease. There are currently studies being conducted with both milk based formulas and hydrolyzed formulas in children that may have a genetic predisposition to type 1 diabetes.

4. An increase in pollution has also been named as a causative factor. It is felt that the increased pollution is a possible factor in the development of both type 1 and type 1 diabetes. Evidence for this cause is highly elusive. In fact, it contradicts the too clean theory, directly.

One of the most important considerations for the child or adolescent that is diagnosed with diabetes is the course of treatment. It is not a disease that is completely the responsibility of the parent. It has to involve the child as well. As a diabetes educator, C. Parry RN CDE states that when teaching a child about controlling their disease it is important to stretch their knowledge as much as possible.

Instead of just instructing the parent about insulin injections, the child should be included. Children can administer the shot to their favorite teddy bear for practice. It will then be possible in most instances to teach the child to inject himself. Of course, drawing up the insulin into the syringe is the responsibility of the parent until the child is a bit older.

Adolescents who are diagnosed have other issues to deal with. An active athlete and band member was diagnosed at the age of 15 states Parry. When he began his instruction in his care, he was encouraged to bring his friends as well. In this way, he was not excluded because of the illness and his friends were more aware of what to look for. It made the transition much easier for the student.

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