When a child experiences a serious life event (e.g. death and illness, divorce/separation, conflicts between adults, new adult in the family, unemployment) at any time during the first 14 years of life, he/she has an increased risk of being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes independent of heredity, heredity for type 2 diabetes, mother’s pregnancy age, the parents’ education level, whether the mother worked part time before the child’s birth and the childhood body-mass index (measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height).
How can we explain the fact that a serious life event before age of 14 increases the chance to develop and be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?
Increased insulin resistance as well as increased insulin demands due to the physiological stress response, including elevated levels of cortisol explain the link between serious life events and development of type 1 diabetes.
We cannot avoid experience of stressful life events. It is important to support children and their families to cope with these events to avoid the detrimental consequences.
Type 1 diabetes and autoimmune thyroid disease: Graves disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis often go together.