"...may have caused the onset of diabetes..."

Okay, so I’m sitting here doing some research for a paper I’m writing on the photographer Bill Brandt and I get to this:

''Returning to London after Christmas celebrations in Sussex on December 29, 1940, Brandt’s train had to halt some distance short of London Bridge Station because of a massive incendiary bomb attack. Brandt found himself separated from the other passengers and alone in the raid among flaming buildings. This terrifying experience may have caused the onset of diabetes from which he suffered for the rest of his life." (emphasis mine)

Okay, so this book was published in 1985…

Is there something about diabetes causes that I don’t know? …I have heard of “trigger” events, but I’ve never had a doctor confirm there’s any truth to this theory.


Stress can make your immune system do crazy things. Considering that type-1 diabetes is autoimmune in all cases except those caused by pancreatectomy or something like that, it doesn’t surprise me that the terrifying experience he went through caused his immune system to respond in a way that triggered type-1 diabetes.

I’ve never heard of a traumatic/stressful “event” causing the onset of diabetes. I am aware that it is not uncommon for type 1s to develop symptoms after an illness or infection (this is exactly what happened it my case), but the idea that stress could be a trigger seems a little far fetched to me.

I could see this. 6 months before I was diagnosed I had an incredibly stressful job where I had daily migraines and I hated my job. My boss at the time was a raging alcoholic. If I knew then, what I know now, I’d have left within a week, but I stuck it out for 8 months. She managed to lose one of the law firms biggest accounts, which included about 90%of my case load (I was a paralegal), so I was fired in March. By September I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I had not been sick in nearly 2 years, I had the flu in February of 1994. There was nothing else in my medical or family history to suggest I was at risk for diabetes either. No one in my family has type 1 but me, and this is including 3rd cousins that we know. The constant job stress was the only thing I could point to as a cause, but I have utterly no proof.

I have heard that there are times in a persons life that will trigger their body to kill the pancreas. For some it’s puberty, pregnancy, illness…etc…

I was never “alone in the raid among flaming buildings” and I have diabetes. :wink:

I think that there are many theories like stress and lack of sleep causing diabetes. I agree that these things aren’t healthy, but I don’t think we know enough yet to make stronger claims.

My mom’s theory is that I got diabetes because I don’t sleep enough (I don’t). I tried sleeping a lot and my diabetes didn’t go away. My mom thinks that all bad things happen to me because I don’t sleep. She might be right, but… I prefer to be a night owl!

My trigger… a defective antibiotic!.. It was pulled off the market in 2005 or 06. It caused my type 1 diabetes, there where many lawsuits, most swept under the rug. As you can see I am still angry!

The way I understand it is that when anyone who is susceptible to getting Type 1 but not quite there yet the stress hormones and counter regulatory enzymes create a crisis that pushes us off the cliff. We were on a hair trigger at the time for whatever reason and high stress forced the issue.
Mind you stress may be a major factor in Type 2 onset in most cases, since it wears out the pancreas’s rapid response to release insulin when a meal is started, so insulin resistance grows until they are diagnosable.