Causes of diabetes

Causes of type 1 diabetes

We don't know exactly what causes type 1 diabetes. It starts with a genetic predisposition to type 1 diabetes, but often without diabetes in your family. All kinds of factors from your living environment can influence the development of type 1 diabetes.
Scientists have shown that there is a genetic predisposition, but this is only a small contribution. Even without type 1 diabetes in a family, and the influence of environmental factors, people can develop type 1 diabetes (in 90% of cases). The possible causes can also differ from person to person. The likelihood of type 1 diabetes when a family member has it is as follows:

  • Sibling with diabetes: 1-8%
  • Father or mother with diabetes: 1-4%
  • Both parents have diabetes: 20-40%
  • Cousin with diabetes: 1-2%
  • Monozygotic twin brother or sister with diabetes: 23-50%

There are a number of environmental factors associated with the development of type 1 diabetes: viral infections, certain types of food in early life (including gluten at a very young age), too little exposure to sunlight (or too little vitamin D) ... All factors that scientists suspect contribute to the development of type 1 diabetes.