Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Type 1 Diabetes Underlying Cause

Insulin is a hormone that controls the level of the sugar, glucose, in the bloodstream. Insulin reduces blood glucose levels by stimulating cells in the body to utilize glucose for energy. Insulin is produced by special cells, called beta cells, within the pancreas.

Type 1 diabetes is an inherited disease, caused by an abnormality in the immune system, which fights infection for the body. The immune system mistakenly attacks the beta cells in the pancreas, causing damage to the cells. The damaged cells are unable to produce insulin. A lack of insulin causes elevated blood glucose levels.

Factors in the environment that may lead to diabetes include:

  • Viral infections
  • Exposure to chemicals or toxins
  • Stress

Continue to Type 1 Diabetes Anatomy

Last Updated: Aug 15, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Type 1 Diabetes References
  1. Davis RE, Morrissey M, Peters JR, Wittrup-Jensen K, Kennedy-Martin T, Currie CJ. Impact of hypoglycaemia on quality of life and productivity in type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Curr Med Res Opin. 2005 Sep;21(9):1477-83. [16197667]
  2. Larsson K, Elding-Larsson H, Cederwall E, Kockum K, Neiderud J, Sjoblad S, Lindberg B, Lernmark B, Cilio C, Ivarsson SA, Lernmark A. Genetic and perinatal factors as risk for childhood type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2004 Nov-Dec;20(6):429-37. [15386804]
  3. Mannucci E, Rotella F, Ricca V, Moretti S, Placidi GF, Rotella CM. Eating disorders in patients with type 1 diabetes: a meta-analysis. J Endocrinol Invest. 2005 May;28(5):417-9. [16075924]
  4. Schlosser M, Strebelow M, Rjasanowski I, Kerner W, Wassmuth R, Ziegler M. Prevalence of diabetes-associated autoantibodies in schoolchildren: the Karlsburg Type 1 Diabetes Risk Study. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2004 Dec;1037:114-7. [15699502]
  5. Steck AK, Bugawan TL, Valdes AM, Emery LM, Blair A, Norris JM, Redondo MJ, Babu SR, Erlich HA, Eisenbarth GS, Rewers MJ. Association of non-HLA genes with type 1 diabetes autoimmunity. Diabetes. 2005 Aug;54(8):2482-6. [16046318]
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