Do Your Genes Cause Type 1 Diabetes?

The genes we’re born with, the ones passed down from our parents and their parents, impact so much of who we are, from the color of our eyes, to whether we have a full head of hair or not, to our chances of having any number of diseases or other health problems. This includes, to a certain degree, the likelihood of developing type 1 diabetes. While genetics plays a role in type 1 diabetes, it is far from the only factor contributing to the condition.

What Is Type 1 Diabetes?

When functioning properly, the body makes insulin-producing cells in the pancreas called islets which detect the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. Islets then release the right amount of insulin to normalize blood sugar levels and facilitate the release of glucose that will be used as energy. In type 1 diabetes, however, the body’s immune system attacks the islet cells in the pancreas.

Without islet cells, the body cannot produce its own insulin. As a result, the sugars stay in the bloodstream, essentially starving the cells of the energy they need to maintain the body’s essential functions. High blood glucose levels can cause severe short-term and long-term problems, including the risk of coma or death.

Genes Can Predispose You To Type 1 Diabetes, But That Doesn’t Mean You’re Destined to Have It

While the genes you inherit may predispose you to type 1 diabetes, other factors are what trigger an actual diagnosis of the disease.

Researchers have identified more than 40 genetic regions (where genes are located on a chromosome) related to immune function and beta cells, including the gene responsible for insulin production. Those genetic regions, passed down from parent to child, increase the chances of diabetes. Having a first-degree family member (parent or sibling) with type 1 diabetes increases your risk significantly. In fact, according to a 2013 study published in Diabetes Care, a total of 12.2 percent of study participants had such a relative with type 1 diabetes.

It’s important to note that even if you do have a family history, developing type 1 is not a foregone conclusion. Many people diagnosed with type 1 don’t have any family history. Conversely, many people whose genes are a risk factor for type 1 diabetes do not go on to develop type 1.

That’s because while genetic factors increase the risk of developing type 1 diabetes, things like age, sex, and environmental factors also contribute to the risk.”

How Continuous Glucose Monitoring Can Help Those With Type 1 Diabetes

The imbalances in blood glucose and insulin levels caused by type 1 diabetes make monitoring and maintaining the right levels of both a critical part of living with the condition.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is a tested, safe, reliable, and accurate transceiver device that helps those with type 1 diabetes monitor their blood sugar levels 24 hours a day without any need to interrupt their day to obtain a sample.

CGM has easy-to-use features that can help each person proactively record and track glucose levels—as well as provide valuable insights on data that helps manage exercise, meals, and daily health status. It is, quite simply, a game-changer for individuals living with type 1 diabetes.

Contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.


If you are not insured, or have a high deductible health insurance plan, you can still purchase the Freestyle Libre Reader and Sensors at extremely competitive prices. Prices starting as low as $99 per month

*Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings when you suspect readings may be in accurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

Reference 1: Data on file. Abbott Diabetes Care. 2, FreeStyle Libre 14 day User’s Manual

Indications and Important Safety Information

FreeStyle Libre and FreeStyle Libre 14 day Flash Glucose Monitoring systems are continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices indicated for replacing blood glucose testing and detecting trends and tracking patterns aiding in the detection of episodes of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, facilitating both acute and long-term therapy adjustments in persons (age 18 and older) with diabetes. The systems are intended for single patient use and require a prescription.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Remove the sensor before MRI, CT scan, X-ray, or diathermy treatment.

WARNINGS/LIMITATIONS: Do not ignore symptoms that may be due to low or high blood glucose, hypoglycemic unawareness, or dehydration. Check sensor glucose readings with a blood glucose meter when Check Blood Glucose symbol appears, when symptoms do not match system readings, or when readings are suspected to be inaccurate. The system does not have alarms unless the sensor is scanned, and the system contains small parts that may be dangerous if swallowed. The system is not approved for pregnant women, persons on dialysis, or critically-ill population. Sensor placement is not approved for sites other than the back of the arm and standard precautions for transmission of blood borne pathogens should be taken. The built-in blood glucose meter is not for use on dehydrated, hypotensive, in shock, hyperglycemic-hyperosmolar state, with or without ketosis, neonates, critically-ill patients, or for diagnosis or screening of diabetes. When using FreeStyle LibreLink app, access to a blood glucose monitoring system is required as the app does not provide one. Review all product information before use or contact Abbott Toll Free (855-632-8658) or visit for detailed indications for use and safety information.html. . FreeStyle, Libre, and related brand marks are trademarks of Abbott Diabetes Care Inc. in various jurisdictions. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2018 Abbott. ADC-09691 vLO 10/18

*The FreeStyle LibreLink app and the FreeStyle Libre 14 day reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings, when you suspect readings may be inaccurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

The FreeStyle Libre 2 app and the FreeStyle Libre 2 reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol and when your glucose alarms and readings from the system do not match symptoms or expectations

‡‡‡Based on the sensor being replaced once every 14 days, and scanned at least once every 8 hours.

§§§Glucose readings are not available during 1-hour warm-up, when sensor is too hot or too cold, when you see an error or "LO" or "HI" message, or no current glucose reading