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.