With all the promotion about a Type 2 diabetes epidemic, an equally frightening rise in rates of Type 1 has been ignored. What is triggering the rise in Type 1 diabetes? Does it have anything to do with the Type 2 surge?
First the numbers. Type 1 diabetes has actually always existed, but it was rare. According to an exhaustive study by Dr. Edwin A. M. Gale of the University of Bristol, rates of Type 1 were on the order of 4 cases per 100,000 children prior to 1950.
In the early 50’s, Type 1 began increasing at a rate of 2% to 4% a year in the United States and Europe. That may not seem like much, and now there are 3 — 4 cases per 1,000 children in these countries. This boost is really as sharp as the increase in Type 2. It just began with a much lower point, so it’s still under most people’s radar.
At some point in the 60’s and 70’s, Asian nations likewise began experiencing the Type 1 increase, and now most (but not all) nations in the world are seeing it.
It’s still occurring. In a June meeting of the American Diabetes Association, researchers reported a 23% rise in Type 1 in the USA over an eight-year period ending in 2009. Frequency of Type 2 diabetes over the exact same period increased 21%, the researchers found. So Type 1 is going up even much faster than Type 2.
Type 1 diabetes is considered an “autoimmune” disease. Autoimmunity is present when our body immune systems damage and damage healthy cells. Autoimmunity can strike anywhere in the body. In rheumatoid arthritis, it assaults the joints; in multiple sclerosis it’s the nerves; in lupus, primarily the kidneys. In Type 1 diabetes, the immune system ruins the pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin.
However what causes autoimmunity? We don’t know. Lots of experts believe it’s the thousands of new chemicals that are continuously contributed to our environment. Our body immune systems get puzzled and might lose the capability to differentiate hazardous intruders from the body’s own tissues.
Spoken with on our Web site, Donna Jackson Nakazawa, author of The Autoimmune Epidemic, stated, “There are just too many chemicals and pollutants on the planet around us. Genetics plays a role, but exposure to antigens is what winds up triggering autoimmune disease.”
We often speak with uninformed individuals that Type 1 is “hereditary,” while Type 2 is brought on by “lifestyle.” In truth, Type 2 may have a stronger genetic element than Type 1. Just about 20% of individuals with Type 1 have a close relative with the disease.
There are genes that predispose people to Type 1, as there are with Type 2. However without direct exposure to ecological stressors that turn those genes on, people don’t get sick.
Undoubtedly, something took place around 1950 that has turned on more of those autoimmune genes. Not just are more children getting Type 1, but it’s being diagnosed at earlier ages typically, simply as Type 2 is striking more youthful individuals.
What’s in the Environment?
There are five prominent theories on how environmental change has actually increased Type 1.
- The “accelerator hypothesis” holds that faster development in early life is putting stress on beta cells, setting off the autoimmune attack. So diabetes is just an unfortunate side effect of kids’ growing. I doubt this.
- Another theory, the “health hypothesis,” holds that children in a modern-day society face less parasitic, viral, and bacterial intruders, due to the fact that we’re so clean and use numerous antibiotics. “Because it is getting less of an exercise, the body immune system turns evil on itself,” stated Robin Goland, of the Columbia University Medical Center in New York.
There is some evidence for this. Inning accordance with Dr. Gale, mice exposed to pinworm infections have lower rates of Type 1. Individuals used to get pinworms, too, so perhaps eliminating them is what set off the Type 1 rise. Research is being done on utilizing worms to avoid or treat autoimmune disease.
- Some believe that diabetes increased when people started spending more time indoors. We got less sun so earned less vitamin D. Low D levels may result in autoimmunity. Individuals who live in bright locations have the tendency to get less autoimmune disease than individuals in higher latitudes and cloudier environments.
- Cow’s milk has been blamed by lots of. As I composed here, a particular milk protein, A1 beta-casein, appears to be related to the majority of cases of Type 1. Possibly the increased use of cow’s milk has actually led to the worldwide Type 1 surge.
Nevertheless, Dr. Gale found that [22%] of American women breastfed in 1972, increasing to 60% in the 1980’s and 1990’s. [But] the occurrence of youth diabetes [increased steadily.] So maybe it’s not the cows’ fault.
- Environmental chemical contamination seems a leading contender. We have been reporting for many years on studies showing that air pollution, and exposure to chemicals such as bisphenol Aand phthalates cause an increased risk of Type 2. Researchers are finding that heavy metals and organic chemicals like dioxins can interrupt the body immune system.
These chemicals have already been strongly associated with Type 2, just like Agent Orange, the chemical sprayed by the military on Vietnam. So what I’m questioning is, are the two diseases more carefully related than we had believed? In both cases, your genes make you susceptible, however it’s the environment that sets them off.