Can stress cause Type 1 Diabetes?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jan 28, 2013

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Diabetes is of two types: Type 1 Diabetes (Juvenile Diabetes/ insulin dependent diabetes) and Type 2 Diabetes.Type1 diabetes occurs in the young age (hence the name) and it is the deficiency or complete absence of the production of the hormone insulin.

How Type 1 diabetes occur?

Certain cells (beta cells) of pancreas produce the hormone insulin. Juvenile diabetes is a defect of the body's immune system, where the insulin-producing beta cells of pancreas are destroyed. Hence the amount of hormone produced is either less in quantity or is absent altogether. This destruction may be triggered by the body’s own defense mechanism (autoimmune disease).There are various factors that cause the body to start attacking its own beta cells such as illnesses in infant-hood or the body is simply allergic to its own immune responses.

Role of insulin in maintaining blood Glucose(sugar):

Blood sugar refers to presence of simple sugar‘glucose’ in the blood, which acts as the main source of energy for cells. Presence of more than required quantity of glucose is called hyperglycemia and lesserquantity is called hypoglycemia. Insulin regulates carbohydrate metabolism. It takes the sugar from the blood into the cells, for its metabolism. When there is more glucose in the blood, more insulin is secreted into the blood, resulting in cells (muscle cells, red blood cells and fat cells) absorbing the glucose out of the blood, thus reducing the blood glucose levels.

Stress and Juvenile diabetes:

It observed that autoimmune conditions become severe under stress. However, stress is not observed to cause juvenile diabetes, though it may further deteriorate the condition.

The logic goes like this: usually stress leads to sickness and thereby weakening of our immunity system. However, diabetes is not caused by weak immunity system.A theory states that stressful life events increase the diabetes risk by increasing levels of the hormone cortisol and decreasing levels of sex steroids such as testosterone, which have been shown to influence the action of insulin.Whereas there is strong evidence that psychological stress is related to a deterioration in glycemic control in established diabetes, there is much less evidence that psychological stress can cause diabetes in humans,anew.

More conclusive research findings are needed to conclude that stress can be a cause of Type 1 diabetes mellitus.



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