A recent study shows a positive association between obesity and type 1 diabetes

A recent study shows a positive association between obesity and type 1 diabetes

Obesity and diabetes

Good health is necessary for a happy life. But it’s something a person has to achieve by putting in constant effort to be fit. But when a person fails to do so, they can experience challenges like being overweight or obese. This can further lead to other health concerns, among which high blood pressure or diabetes are more prevalent. In recent research published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers reviewed advancements in epidemiological data about weight disorders and type 1 diabetes. They investigated the challenges scientists and doctors faced while studying and treating these associations.

As it was seen in the past that type 1 diabetes is less prevalent, this type of diabetes got less attention from researchers. Hence, risk factors for type 1 diabetes are not as clear for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. This leads to several myths and misinformation about prevalence, association, and optimal treatment. This study cleared up multiple myths regarding T1D, such as that the chronic condition only affects lean adolescents.

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What is T1D?

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the human immune system, which works to fight infection, attacks and starts destroying the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, called beta cells. Thus, its body has an autoimmune reaction (the body attacks itself by mistake). Symptoms of type 1 diabetes appear after months and years of this process. Family history and environmental factors such as viruses can be the reasons for type 1 diabetes.

Role of stress in T1D:

Though stress is not the only potential triggering cause or factor for the onset of T1D, it can influence the outcomes of the patients affected by T1D. Stress is common among their caregivers and type 1 diabetic children. As parents, we face greater responsibility regarding our children’s health. Learning to cope with stressful events is an important factor in achieving better long-term outcomes for diabetic patients.

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Common myths about T1D:
  1. Because its onset was historically noted in adolescents, this condition has been known as juvenile diabetes. However, recent research has shown that type 1 diabetes can develop in individuals of any age group.
  2. Another myth was that type 1 diabetes will affect only lean individuals, and obese and overweight people are immune to this condition. However, in recent research, it was found that there is a positive cycle feedback association between excessive weight disorder and type 1 diabetes.

Future challenges

After these research findings, experts predicted that the current count of 3.7 million people suffering from type 1 diabetes will potentially reach around 17 million by 2040. To face this challenging future situation, we must work to increase professional and public awareness about this disease, its causative agents, and optimal management strategies. This will allow the clinician to improve the quality of life for all the patients with these chronic conditions.

Research findings

Being overweight and obese significantly and positively associated with T1D.Adolescents between the ages of 16 and 19 who deviate from the mean body mass index by one standard deviation are at a 25% increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Genome-wide Association Studies (GWAS) and Mendelian Randomization Studies validated these research findings.

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Extremely positive information also comes from this finding, which is that with every 10% weight loss, children with severe obesity can drastically reduce their risk of suffering from Type 1 diabetes by 22%. A proper weight loss intervention plan can prevent thousands of people from developing this disease before its onset. Future research, policy, and intervention must be patient-specific to avoid and form in such a way that they address type 1 diabetes and their comorbidities simultaneously.

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