Type I Diabetes ― a Viral Thing?

Here’s something I’ve been curious about for a long time. For a while I’ve been corresponding with a number of adult “late-onset” Type 1 (LADA) diabetics like myself who were told their disease manifested itself due to a virus. Strange, but a leading theory…

I looked into this and discovered that the medical profession is pretty much still baffled about why people get Type 1 diabetes as adults. If we have the “genetic propensity,” then why doesn’t it manifest itself sooner? Adult-onset does appear to be more and more frequent, but why should this be if Type 1 is not brought on by poor diet or lifestyle?

Here’s one excellent link about What Causes Type 1 Diabetes from the University of Maryland Medical Center.

VirusEssentially this site tells us that “some researchers believe one or more viral infections may trigger the disease in genetically susceptible individuals.” These researchers suggest:

* An infection introduces a viral protein that resembles a beta-cell protein
* T cells and antibodies are tricked by this resemblance into attacking the beta protein as well as the virus
* Two people may be infected with the same virus and only one of them who is genetically prone will go on to develop diabetes
* Among the viruses under scrutiny (suspected of triggering the Big D) are enteric viruses, which attack the intestinal tract. Coxsackieviruses are an enteric virus of particular interest.
* BUT: One study has suggested that respiratory infection during a child’s first year may actually be protective against diabetes, perhaps priming the immune response so that it is better able to respond to alien organisms later on.

Gotcha. As usual, the theory sounds quite reasonable, but there is also intriguing evidence to suggest the opposite.

What have we learned?

It does seem pretty clear that adult-onset Type 1 is brought about by the killer combo of genetic programming and some kind of physical weakness, if you will. In my case, I was totally run down and probably would have been hospitalized for advanced-stage Rock-Star exhaustion if the diabetes hadn’t hit me first. Ugh…

A few more links of interest that discuss the virus theory include:

NewFitness on types of diabetes

Diabetes Health on seasonal risk factors

HaaretzDaily.com on birth season and diabetes risk

Not only medically, but psychologically, the quest for WHY is always essential… no?


43 Responses

  1. Revan
    Revan September 22, 2005 at 1:54 pm | | Reply

    Wow, this is interesting. I am also a “late onset” type I, I was diagnosed at 31 – I can specifically correlate the symptoms with a period of high stress (Evening MBA along with a stressful job) and viral sickness (bronchitis with a flair up of cold sores).

    My biggest fear has always been that my children will inherit the “diabetic gene” and have a greater than normal chance of developing the disease. This would suggest that that may not be true.

  2. Jana
    Jana September 22, 2005 at 3:54 pm | | Reply

    When I was diagnosed almost two years ago, at age 19, my mother almost went nuts trying to figure out the WHY. She is a biologist, so mostly she was just really interested. When we finally talked about it in detail with the endo (after the hecticness of being hospitalized and starting shots and all that), he started asking me all sorts of questions, and it turns out I’m a textbook example of the virus theory. When travelling in Finland, I picked up a stomach virus that laid me up for a week, and immediately thereafter my symptoms (thirst, weight loss) started. The relevance of Finland is that all of the Scandinavian countries have a much higher percentage, per capita, of type 1 diabetics, so many think that the virus that may be responsible originated there.

    Oh, and just as a side note, I fell in love with Finland when I was there (it was my first time). I’ve been back once since, and hope to go again. Seems sort of ironic, falling in love with the country that gave me this darn disease… ;)

  3. Sid Martinez
    Sid Martinez September 22, 2005 at 4:55 pm | | Reply

    I have a very similar subject with a different format. Please look at

    Diabetes News Up-Date

    The Spiritual Path

  4. Jay
    Jay September 22, 2005 at 7:58 pm | | Reply

    I was diagnosed on my 22 birthday. I can actually tell you what date I became symptomatic. I have often wondered what combination of events occured to cause my condition. In the month before symptoms appeared, I made 2 changes: 1. I was put on synthroid. 2. Started seeing a chiropractor. Was there a relation there? Who knows. The thyroid is part of the endocrin (sp?) system. I have often heard that a major health event triggers Type I. In childhood it’s usually Chicken Pox. The worked up immune system attacks the insulin producing cells. Hopefully more reasearch can determine some of the cause. Good post.

  5. D double E
    D double E September 23, 2005 at 11:41 am | | Reply

    I feel like its not just for adult onset. B had a virus about 4 months before she was dignosed with Type 1 at almost 2. Very interesting article though. Thanks, as always Amy, for all of your enlightenment.

  6. Gina
    Gina September 23, 2005 at 3:57 pm | | Reply

    I remember…a couple of summers before i was diagnosed, I felt sick a whole summer and all i did was sleep the whole day of my vacation before starting college in september that was in 1996 after that i started losing weight, and i remember i dont exactly remember when i started peeing a lot until the summer of 2000….I was diagnosed November of 2000 age 25. but if i went to the doc in 1996 i wonder if I had it then and just didnt know.

  7. ThePef
    ThePef September 23, 2005 at 9:00 pm | | Reply

    Nice to see you following up on our discussion. Just to make some quick notes:

    1) Highly stressful job, running projects at GE and CitiGroup
    2) Age 37 onset
    3) extremely bad flu symptoms
    4) followed by what is a classic symptom of diabetes, a frozen shoulder, went through physical therapy
    5) started peeing alot
    6) lost 30 pds
    7) self diagnosed
    8) now on insulin

    No family history.
    Was a little overweight, not alot.

    I strongly believe it was viral.

  8. Joanna
    Joanna September 30, 2005 at 9:54 pm | | Reply

    In 1976 there was a bad strain of flu going around called the hong kong flu. I ended up with the flu then right after that type 1 diabetes set in.
    29 years later i have no major compilcations.

  9. alfredo
    alfredo October 6, 2005 at 1:45 am | | Reply

    Wow, and I thought my case was strange :o )

    Diagnosed with 27 years old. Living abroad with a very stressful job (the never-ending software project that kept us up everyday until 2AM), and far away from relatives, friends and girlfriend. All this during mid-Winter and with several colds and digestive problems…

    Also, no family history.

    Keep it up. Cool blog.

  10. Simon
    Simon October 14, 2005 at 11:37 am | | Reply

    Greetings from London!

    I was diagnosed 6 months ago and have been a bit confused as to what might have caused my diabetes so it’s great to find some fellow ladas here! Google doesn’t throw up any similar blogs based in the UK, so three cheers for the yanks!

    I was initially diagnosed as type 2 but then tested positive for GAD antibodies and a recent C-peptide test indicated a low insulin level so I now know I’m lada, type 1.5 or ‘grumbling type 1′ as my endo calls it! I’ve heard conflicting theories about whether it’s genetic – there’s a fair bit of type 2 in my family but no type 1, which seems odd – but none of my doctors have mentioned the viral theory. I did have a bout of the nastiest flu I’ve ever experienced about four months prior to diagnosis and have often wondered if it was connected.
    Am now in the ‘honeymoon’ period and controlling my blood sugar with diet and exercise. It’s quite strange having this feeling that there’s a countdown going on in the islets of langerhans (beautiful name – sounds like they should distill whisky there!), but I don’t have any idea how long it will last.

    I was also alarmed by some of the blood sugar readings you guys were mentioning til I realised we use a different system to you! My initial readings at diagnosis were around 16 but I’m averaging 6 now, which I’m told is near non-diabetic levels.

    Anyway, nice to be in the company of people in the same, or at least similar boats. You all seem a chirpy bunch, which makes me feel more optimistic about the future.


  11. AmyT
    AmyT October 14, 2005 at 5:09 pm | | Reply

    Hello Simon! We do our best to chirp; sometimes it just comes out like a whine. But you’re in good company :)


  12. Matt Pasterfield
    Matt Pasterfield December 18, 2005 at 8:10 pm | | Reply

    I was diagnosed today! I have just joined the LADA ranks (shame about the name, a cheap Eastern European car).

    I’m type 1.5, my brother has had type one for 30 years and I’m 36. I have been on insulin for a week and am acheiving great control with low levels of Glargine. This is the honeymoon though and I know the day will come when the insulin will have to go up. I’m mentally prepared though and am lucky that I had the knowledge of diabetes from my brother. I watched him pratice by injecting oranges.

    I didn’t have any viral symptoms, but I did move to Singapore three months before being diagnosed from the UK. Not sure if that’s related at all.

    I’ll keep reading this site, it has helped over the last couple of weeks since my symptoms set in.


  13. Pat
    Pat May 2, 2006 at 10:13 am | | Reply

    This all sounds so familiar. And if you let me set the plate with my background, I think I can contribute some great information. I am a Type I LADA diabetic. I am 40 and was diagnosed at the end of November 2005. I had a fasting blood sugar of 498 when diagnosed. I was initially misdiagnosed with Type II, and then like the gent from London tested positive for antibodies.

    Like others here, I was really pushing the limit with the sale of my company looming, business booming and my infant just becoming a toddler. I thought the weight lose (27 pounds in 90 days) was from buring the candle at booth ends, but when I took a break and things got worse, I knew I had to see the doctor.

    I have been treated a priamry who specializes in diabteics as well as my local endo and I have been a part of a study at the Joslin Clinic where I feel I have learned a lot (I am also a member now of the Elliot P. Joslin Society – you should all give what you can toward the fight for a cure).

    When misdiagnosed I was placed on Avandamet (Avandia & Metformin). Avandia is an insulin sensitizer and not intended for Type I use, but I showed great benefit (it takes 6-8 weeks to see full effect). So my primary & endo kept me classified as a type II for insurance reasons with the theory that if it is working, stick with it. I found out in February through Joslin that a recent study shows that TZD use (Avendia is in the TZD class of drugs) can increase beta cell mass, and can prolong the honeymoon period for LADA patients for at least up to two years (as measured in C-Peptide levels vs. non-TZD LADA patients), and perhaps longer (the study has only been going for two years). I have responded wonderfully with just diet change, metformin and TZD use. My sugars are fasting 70 to 100 and post meal 120 to 180, and this is without insulin. It will come to an end, but it seems that TZD use is prolonging my honeymoon period.

    The studies I have participated in at Joslin revolve around the new idea for a cure for Type I which is immune modulation. In short, they have proven that if the immune system is suppressed that your pancreas will recreate beta cells. But complete immune suppression is not a safe practice (for obvious reasons). As such the new focus is on finding a method to modulate the immune system to only hold off the T-Cells that attack the pancreas and then foster regeneration of the cells.

    I could write far more than a blog is comfortable for reading, but there are some promising new things on the horizon, and I love to share what I have learned and learn more from others

  14. lisa
    lisa September 24, 2006 at 6:47 am | | Reply

    My Dad was diagnosed with Type 1 at 70 years old. Retired at 40 so no stress there. He is extremely thin and started losing muscle weight over the first year of so of diagnosis. Is now, at 73 moving into Alzheimer’s. Don’t know what my Mum is going to go through. They live overseas. Any suggestions at sites I can read about the link between the two or how it is managed?

  15. Mary Smothers
    Mary Smothers October 23, 2006 at 6:03 pm | | Reply

    Hi there! My husband was diagnosed at 25 and I have to be honest…I spend way to much time trying to figure out what the heck happend. First, his mother has been diagnosed with lupus which leads me to believe that he has this autoimmunie gene. Second, I’ve been reading about the Hep B shot and how they have done studies to prove it has caused s “very” slight increase in type 1 and we believe my husband has his Heb B a year before he was diagnoesed.

    I’m wondering if anyone has done research one how likely this can be passed down to our children. I’ve read that our children will have a 1 in 17 chance but many haev said that becuase he was LADA it is unlikely. I would love to hear that there is merit to that claim? We have a 9 month old who I breastfed as long as I could in hopes that it give him some resistance.

    Im’ also wondering if anyone has some research on the Hep B theroy? Thanks!

  16. Mary Smothers
    Mary Smothers October 23, 2006 at 6:03 pm | | Reply

    Hi there! My husband was diagnosed at 25 and I have to be honest…I spend way to much time trying to figure out what the heck happend. First, his mother has been diagnosed with lupus which leads me to believe that he has this autoimmunie gene. Second, I’ve been reading about the Hep B shot and how they have done studies to prove it has caused s “very” slight increase in type 1 and we believe my husband has his Heb B a year before he was diagnoesed.

    I’m wondering if anyone has done research one how likely this can be passed down to our children. I’ve read that our children will have a 1 in 17 chance but many haev said that becuase he was LADA it is unlikely. I would love to hear that there is merit to that claim? We have a 9 month old who I breastfed as long as I could in hopes that it give him some resistance.

    Im’ also wondering if anyone has some research on the Hep B theroy? Thanks!

  17. Hilary Caskey
    Hilary Caskey January 10, 2007 at 7:56 am | | Reply

    I was diagnosed in Feb. 2005 as being diabetic, following a drastic 40 lb weight loss. My hometown had just been destroyed by Hurrican Charley in August of 2004, and then I went down with the worst case of bronchitis I have ever had in my life, viral! My doctor and I agreed the two had something to do with MY PANCREAS ALMOST COMPLETELY SHUTTING DOWN! I now take metformin and occasional insulin injection. Good days and bad, this is all still new to me. NO HISTORY

  18. Chistine
    Chistine September 19, 2007 at 2:39 pm | | Reply

    My son is only 11, jsut was diagnosed Type 1 and he did have coxsackie virus about a year and a half ago…..I often wonder if he did not get that virus, would he be diabetic now? If there is a link, they should make a vaccination to prevent Coxsackie…

  19. barbara
    barbara October 16, 2007 at 10:34 pm | | Reply

    My daughter has just been diagnosed with Type I diabetes. She’s 38 and went to her OB for something else totally unrelated and almost casually mentioned that she’d lost several pounds over the preceding several days, was also “peeing gallons” throughout the night for the immediately preceding few nights and gulping down tons of oj in the AM — apparently classic symptoms. Otherwise she felt fine, but after they read her tests, they were amazed she hadn’t collapsed from it. She’s now giving herself shots but has no idea if they’re the right dosage of whatever she should be on because her counts are still up and down, though not as dangerous as they apparently were. She’s trying to monitor how she feels throughout the day, before and after the shots, recording it all and reading everything she can get her hands on while she’s waiting for an appointment at the Joslin (she lives in Boston, fortunately). She’s currently with a doctor not at the Joslin who seems pretty cavalier about her concerns and fears, from what she’s told me.

    One of the things she’s read is about a viral infection triggering the onset. Amazing.

    What I’m anxious to hear anyone here comment on is the costs connected with treatment and whether or not group insurance typically covers them. Above, I noted that someone said her/his doctor continued to identify that person’s diabetes as Type 2 for insurance purposes. Does this mean insurance companies simply don’t cover adult-onset Type 1 care adequately? If not, why not?

    Also, what is the “honeymoon” period several have referred to?

    There’s no Type 1 diabetes in my family, though her father developed Type 2 several years ago. My daughter and her husband are understandably concerned about the risk to their two boys (ages 5 & 7).

    Any information provided would be greatly appreciated, about the Joslin, particular doctors, studies, or anything else that you think would be helpful to know or consider. TIA.

  20. julie lavill
    julie lavill October 26, 2007 at 10:00 pm | | Reply

    Hi there, my 10 yr old son was diagnosed type 1 in august 2007. Doctors say the cause is probably viral but he was fit & well before diagnosis. My little man was bullied at school and as a result he used to get very upset and stressed. I just wondered if there is any-one else out there that believes there may be a link between stress and diabetes type 1.

    1. Lola
      Lola July 20, 2014 at 11:03 am | | Reply

      ” I just wondered if there is any-one else out there that believes there may be a link between stress and diabetes type 1. ”

      A few people have written about major stress before the onset.

    2. Lola
      Lola July 20, 2014 at 11:13 am | | Reply

      ” Does this mean insurance companies simply don’t cover adult-onset Type 1 care adequately? If not, why not? ”

      Type 1 is much more rare than type 2, I think. That may have something to do with it ?

      “Also, what is the “honeymoon” period several have referred to?”

      That period is when the pancreas still produces some insulin by itself, then, oftentimes, after the honeymoon period, it doesn’t.

  21. camille johnson
    camille johnson November 30, 2007 at 4:12 pm | | Reply

    Amazing! I love this blog. For years I’ve believed that my T1 (now 27 years) was caused by a virus (and also my 7 year old son’s T1) but no doctor I ever talked to would say anything about any connection, even though I asked. Is this because they don’t want to upset the insurance companies or the pharma companies?
    My history: no family history. At age 32, after 3 successful pregnancies, I took my 2, 4, and 6 year olds hiking in a forest preserve and came down with an itchy rash. I thought my thirst and constant peeing were a bad reaction to the medicine, but when I stopped the meds and the thirst and peeing didn’t stop I returned to my GP and he immediately diagnosed T1. Two years later, my 7 year old son came done with T1 just as fast.
    And what’s this about Frozen Shoulder being a common precursor to diabetes. I’ve had Frozen Shoulder in BOTH shoulders but I never heard any connection to diabetes before. btw- my shoulder problems came after I had diabetes 8 and 10 years.

  22. Peter Warner
    Peter Warner December 4, 2007 at 8:55 am | | Reply

    I was diagnosed with Type 1 in June this year. I am 52 and recently stepped down from a very stressful job in an English High School. I developed hypothyroidism at the same time. Since taking insulin, starting in early October, my joints hurt, muscls ache and I have less energy than before I was diagnosed! Currenbtly am off work hoping that things will stablise and I can get back to a normal life.

  23. Kathy Heaton
    Kathy Heaton January 22, 2008 at 7:54 pm | | Reply

    I was diagnosed with Type 1 almost two years ago. I was 43 with no family history. I was told by my doctor that a virus probably triggered it or an infection I didn’t know about. That one bothered me, I just couldn’t imagine an infection you wouldn’t know about. One day I saw something on the news about the link between dental problems and overall health. Suddenly, a light went off…of course! Three months before any symptoms began, I had the worst and only toothache of my life. I had known for a few months that there was a problem with the tooth that was hurting, but I had put off going to the dentist. After getting to the dentist, I found out I had an abcess, the tooth needed to come out etc. and I needed to take some atibiotic to kill the infection. I really believe that infection which I didn’t know about may have triggered my Type 1. Moral–Make regular visits to the dentist!

  24. Brian
    Brian January 28, 2008 at 8:28 am | | Reply

    I was diagnosed at 27 with “Type 1.5.” Unlike many others, I had not seen a doctor for 10 years before my diagnosis. No significant illnesses in that period at all. (To this day, I rarely get sick). The classic symptoms (30 lb weight loss, unquenchable thirst, frequent urination, drowsiness after meals) made me seek out a doctor. No family history. But, I did have a severe case of chicken pox when I was 3 that I almost died from (chicken pox, plus two staph infections, plus cellulits, very high fever for a week, I still have the scars). My endocronologist would not venture a guess at what caused my diabetes, though. He never mentioned a viral possibility. This blog is really the first I’ve heard the term LADA or heard any theories of what causes our condition. Anyone know if it is getting more common? I know a couple other people with it, but not many.

  25. Jana
    Jana January 28, 2008 at 11:42 am | | Reply

    Wow, I didn’t know that (viral infection) I was diagnosed at age 21, 4 months after I came to United States from Slovakia. I do not remember having a viral infection, I just remember having a stresfull time at the host family, where I was supposed to spend a year as an au-pair, so my doctor sugested that might be a trigger to my diabetes. Does my age count as LADA and does that mean, my children will be healthy and will not be at risk of developing a diabetes? I am 29 now, no history of diabetes in my family. I still hate it having this disease, I am getting my blood sugars under control, but I think I’ll never get used to being a diabetic.

  26. Robert Mcnamara
    Robert Mcnamara February 8, 2008 at 9:54 am | | Reply

    I was diagnosed as a type 1 in August 06.
    I feel that this diagnoses was strongly related to high levels of stress that I went through for around a 3 to 4 month period. It’s a long story. Relationship related.

    Anyway I was also very upset at my doctor, because when he gave me this final diagnoses of being a type 1 diabetic, he told me on that day that I was a pre diabetic back in February when i had blood work done. He never called me to tell me.
    I have read and done some of my own research that you can reverse it if you are pre diabetic.

    So really I blame my doctor for me becoming a full blown diabetic.
    Had he called me in February and told me I was a pre diabetic I could have stoppped it.

    Do you think I could take legal action against my doctor?

  27. Susan
    Susan February 19, 2008 at 6:46 pm | | Reply

    I’m 49 now and was diagnosed with LADA 3years ago this month. I was under extreme stress at work in a high school working with developmentally challenged students. originally they tried all the type II meds, But I continued to be very unstable. Finally they put me on nova rapid with meals and 2 shots daily of lantus. I’m a very brittle diabetic and have been on a great insulin pump now for a year. Since I am so brittle the pump has not been able to give me complete stability yet, but I can do more because I can control the insulin. At the same time that I got the diabetes, I went into menopause. I have read that it can also be caused by an immune system attack. I’m very curious about one of the other posts I just read, the person mentioned that they have terrible muscle and joint pain. I also do, and it is not every day but most and it is debilitating. I’m wondering if there is anymore info out there about a connection. I’m currently seeking help with this, with physio and a rhuematoligist.

  28. Sue Muller
    Sue Muller September 4, 2008 at 10:43 pm | | Reply

    I was diagnosed in 1977 at almost 14 years of age, type 1. Have been on a pump for about 12 years now. I was told also my diabetes may have been caused by a virus, as a child (Dr. mentioned chicken pox and other childhood diseases also) Three years ago, I was about to start dialysis, but had a Kidney transplant instead. The Kidney failure was caused by all the years of High BP, and high blood sugars. Six months later, I had a pancreas transplant. I was Diabetes free for the 1st time in 28 years and so happy. Several months later I started not feeling well, and in Oct 2006 I was taken to our local ER in severe pain. Turns out I had a large abdominal abscess (still don’t knnow if that is what what caused my acute rejection, or even what caused the abscess/infection) My Surgeon had to remove my new pancreas because it was necrotic. Talk about being devestated!! The good new is, I still have my new Kidney (donated by my wonderful husband) and it is working great. But several months after losing the new pancreas I really went into a severe depression, which I am still struggling to overcome, almost 2 years later. Of course, I’m now back on the insulin pump, and trying to lose the weight that I gained after I lost the pancreas!! I need to lose some if I want to get back on the list for another Pancreas transplant…very frustrating…to say the least. I AM HOPING TO FIND AND TALK TO OTHER TRANSPLANT RECIPIENTS, WHO HAVE GONE THROUGH THE KIDNEY/PANCREAS THING. SO IF ANYONE WANTS TO TALK, OR EVEN VENT ABOUT IT, PLEASE CONTACT ME HERE OR ON MY BLOG, THANKS!

  29. Rex
    Rex March 3, 2009 at 10:40 pm | | Reply

    I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 31 years of age. I remember that immediately prior to the development of symptoms (perpetual thirst and urination, rapid weight loss, lethargy, and general malaise) I had a week long battle with the flu. I have an uncle who was diagnosed with type 1 30 years ago and his story is almost exactly the same. Contracted the flu, and immediately after getting over it he began to show the symptoms.

  30. MRibb
    MRibb October 13, 2009 at 3:02 pm | | Reply

    I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes almost a month ago. Over the summer I lost nearly 40 lbs. Around the time of the on-set, I was in the middle of law school finals, was very run down, and in the first week of summer I was rather ill. After reading all of the blogs above and speaking with the endo, the viral theory makes sense to me. Also, the only genetic link I have found in my family is a great Aunt who had rhumatoid arthritis which is an auto-immune disease. So I may have a slight disposition to type 1 diabetes, which the viral infection could have activated, if you will.

  31. greg
    greg December 5, 2009 at 6:27 pm | | Reply

    great to find a blog dedicated to type one. I am also a late bloomer(diag. at 41) got a head cold, moved to my chest, stayed a week and was gone. or so i thought. was always a sensible eater and took care of myself. so i reacted when my body was not acting in it’s normal fashion(rapid weight loss-17lbs in 2 weeks) extreme thirst and urination.suspected diabetes but with no family history(type 1 or 2) assumed something else.WRONG.had blood woork done and had a fasting bgl of 400. admitted to hosp. with a bgl of 660. peptide at .1(no production) I was pretty lucky to walk into the hospital. my endo and i agree, my onset was assuredly viral. but as i said with no family history it was quite a shock! have learned a great deal on the subject but can always use more insight. thanks for affording us this chance to chat about it!!

  32. BradS
    BradS December 7, 2010 at 5:41 pm | | Reply

    After doing some research on this subject for an English paper, I was surprised to find the frequency rising in cases where a viral trigger was suspected as activating type 1 diabetes. Even babies who were exposed to the rubella virus in the womb had a much higher chance of contracting type 1 diabetes as children. The other major concern related to a virus’ triggering the disease, is the possible influence of childhood vaccinations. Studies with lab animals have shown certain childhood vaccinations are inhibiting the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin. The rate of type 1 diabetes incidence is increasing world-wide at an alarming rate. Genetics don’t normally change fast enough to cause such a sharp increase in the rates. Something else in the environment, must be behind the increased number of cases, and very likely could be the spread of viral infections and more childhood vaccinations.

  33. Andrew
    Andrew February 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm | | Reply

    I was diagnosed with Type 1 about 2 months ago after initially being diagnosed Type 2 a month before that. GAD came back at 70 and low C-peptide confirmed the bad news. I’m on Metformin alone but know insulin is coming some day. I’m very healthy overall, eating fairly well with plenty of exercise. That has been my routine for a long time. The only symptom I had other than a high blood sugar reading (taken at a routine physical) was and still is frequent urination. I didn’t see this coming.

    The only reason I’m typing this up is because I’m shocked to see how many people had a virus or illness before their diagnosis. I’ve read about the virus connection but this is the first time I’ve heard so many people seemingly confirm it.

    Add me to the list. I went years without getting any kind of serious illness. I own a business I run from home so I don’t come in contact with that many people. In March of 2010 I came down with the worst case of cold/flu I can remember in my adult life (I’m 38 now). It started with a scratchy throat and then came the head cold. I couldn’t stop sneezing. I sneezed at least 100 times on my worst day. I have a hard time sleeping more than 8 hours a night but that night I slept for 15 hours. The worst of it last only 2 days but it made such an impact on me then I’ve been a germophobe ever since, some 11 months later. Now I realize that bout with the flu bug might have triggered my diabetes. I had tested normal for blood sugar readings just 6 months prior.

    The only person in my family to have type 1 is my grandma on my mom’s side, so there is a genetic link with me. Yet, it certainly seems the virus is what did me in.

  34. Katy
    Katy April 11, 2011 at 4:54 am | | Reply

    Hi, I was diagnosed with diabetes type 1 a year ago. I was 20 years old at the time. There is no history of diabetes type 1 in my family, although my grandad did have type 2. I can also relate to some occurences mentioned by people with type 1. I had gum disease and an extremely painful toothache a few months before being diagnosed. I was also suffering from stress and anxiety being in a long distant relationship and stressing about deadlines and exams for uni.

    It may be worth mentioning a few background details too. I am a student. I was at an average weight previous to being diagnosed with diabetes type 1. I believe I led a relatively healthy lifestyle but not completely. I always enjoy exercising whether it be running or going for a walk. I did not go on a sugar binge diet previous to being diagnosed. However, I did lack my 5 a day and my diet would have principally involved eating pasta but not in large amounts. My sleeping patterns were very abnormal. I would either sleep too much or too little, mainly because of stress or sadness.

    It seems to me that two things were salient previous to becoming diabetic: the gum infection and the psycgological issues involving stress and anxiety.

  35. Mackenna
    Mackenna June 12, 2011 at 12:44 am | | Reply

    My boyfriend was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 7, which I understand is relatively late for “juvenile diabetes”. He told me that he was always getting sick with colds and other things, and he still does get sick quite often. I’m thinking his immune system may have been compromised when he was younger and that lead to type 1 diabetes.
    There is no history of diabetes in his family, although his mother had dangerously high blood pressure during all three of her pregnancies, including his (he was the last born), and he was born prematurely.
    It’s nice to know that a virus may be the cause, not genetic predispositions!

  36. Joe
    Joe December 31, 2011 at 5:42 pm | | Reply

    Appreciate this blog – was diagnosed with LADA a few months ago with the typical symptoms (blurry vision, excessive urination, etc.). After several stressful years in business, and right before the typical symptoms and disease onset, I went through 2 months of intense stress- like I’ve never known before. Within a week, the symptoms appeared and I was diagnosed. Virus is a potential. Can just the right mix of viral infection and acute stress be the cause?

    1. Lola
      Lola July 20, 2014 at 11:00 am | | Reply

      ” Within a week, the symptoms appeared and I was diagnosed. Virus is a potential. Can just the right mix of viral infection and acute stress be the cause? ”

      Wondering about this myself.

  37. Curt
    Curt August 7, 2013 at 4:00 am | | Reply

    Good Blog,

    Diagnosed 4 months ago as type 1.5. 30 years old and like many others had the weight loss, thirst, frequent urniation. Sugars were through the roof when I had my blood work done. Currently still in the honeymoon period and on metformin. Sugars are under control with exercise and a strict diet. My endo is investigating a potential cause as I have no family history and was very healthy. Always slim and fit my whole life. He believes it might have been the whopping cough vaccine I received about a month before the symptoms began. I received the vaccine because it was recommended before the birth of my son. I will update if my endo feels that this was definitley the cause. Interesting link nonetheless. I googled whopping cough vaccine and diabetes and there appears to have been a known link for years.

  38. Hannah
    Hannah September 17, 2013 at 7:59 am | | Reply

    I have no doubts what caused my type 1 diabetes. I was diagnosed as type 2 in February at 36. After extreme life trauma. Both parents are type 2 so I had a 50% chance of getting it. Type 2 runs back 4 generations in my family on both sides. Was getting it under control. More extreme life trauma and my pancreas failed almost overnight. I had regular blood tests all through this period for asthma and other health issues to check for infections and viruses. There were none. Cortisol attacks beta cells and causes insulin resistance. Stress caused my type 1. I have some insulin resistance. I would probably have been diagnosed as 1.5 but it progressed quickly. My endo is in total agreement. It is not the first cut and dry case of stress induced type 1. Your predisposed life stress produces cortisol the stress hormone. You get type 1. I’m not saying you lovely people didn’t have a virus. But maybe the virus weakened you maybe a virus stressed you. Myvstress was very identifiable. The dates match my medical records and tests like a diary. My medical records 100% prove my type 1 at 37 was not caused by infection or virus. Look at the stress in your life as a possible answer. Medical professionals will never aim to prove this. It makes the stress causers liable. Imagine if you could sue someone for causing your duabetes. Imagine if you could sue your health care provider for not treating the stress that causes diabetes when they had the chance to stop it.

  39. Craig Eubank
    Craig Eubank July 4, 2014 at 10:32 am | | Reply

    I am 52, six ft. tall and 200 pounds. I am active and have no history or family history of type 1. I got a MRSA infection and was treated with IV antibiotics and large doses of oral antibiotics for fourteen months before being diagnosed with Type 1. I inject 100 units a day now. No explanation given. Sucks.

  40. Lola
    Lola July 20, 2014 at 10:59 am | | Reply

    ” Do you think I could take legal action against my doctor? ”

    I would think so ?

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