Some known risk factors for type 1 diabetes include:

  • Family history. Anyone with a parent or sibling with type 1 diabetes has a slightly increased risk of developing the condition.
  • Genetics. The presence of certain genes indicates an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
  • Geography. The incidence of type 1 diabetes tends to increase as you travel away from the equator. People living in Finland and Sardinia have the highest incidence of type 1 diabetes — about two to three times higher than rates in the United States and 400 times the incidence among people living in Venezuela.
  • Age. Although type 1 diabetes can appear at any age, it appears at two noticeable peaks. The first peak occurs in children between 4 and 7 years old, and the second is in children between 10 and 14 years old.

Many other possible risk factors for type 1 diabetes have been investigated, though none have been proved. Some other possible risk factors include:

  • Exposure to certain viruses, such as the Epstein-Barr virus, Coxsackie virus, mumps virus and cytomegalovirus
  • Early exposure to cow's milk
  • Low vitamin D levels
  • Drinking water that contains nitrates
  • Early (before 4 months) or late (after 7 months) introduction of cereal and gluten into a baby's diet
  • Having a mother who had preeclampsia during pregnancy
  • Being born with jaundice
Aug. 02, 2014

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