Type 1 Diabetes: Causes & Risk Factors
There are several risk factors that increase your odds of getting type 1 diabetes. It's important to keep in mind that these risk factors often work in combination.
- Family history. You are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes if one or both of your parents or any of your grandparents has or had the disease. Also, risk increases if both your parents carry the HLA-DR3 or HLA-DR4 genes (human leukocyte antigen). In the United States, 40% of the population has one or more of these genes.
- Race. Caucasians have the highest rate of the disease.
- Environmental factors. In people who have a family history of type 1 diabetes, it's possible that viruses may trigger the disease.
- Diet. Type 1 diabetes is more common in those who were not fed breast milk or who started eating solid foods at an exceptionally early age.