What triggered your Type 1?

Any idea what caused/triggered your T1? Since science can’t tell us yet, just wondered if any of you had flu, illness, etc in the months prior to diagnosis. I wasn’t sick other than a headcold 7 months prior and got the flu shot 4 months before diagnosis. Do any of you have a “hypothesis” on what triggered your T1?

My older bother has T1D. He has had it my entire life. Growing up, I was actually part of some study to determine if I had a chance on getting T1D. From what I recall, I made it farther in the study than my older sister.

My parents knew the signs, so I was taken to the hospital right away when I started showing symptoms of Diabetes. Granted, about a month before I was probably sick for a week. I was always sick the first week in November when growing up, that did stop the following November after my diagnosis though, and hasn't occurred since, hmm..

My hypothesis is, even though I was sick a month prior to my diagnosis, it was inevitable that I was going to get T1D. It is in my genes. The only question was when.

Yep, I do have a theory (pasted from another thread):

My own theory about why I developed Type 1 is that I was born three months premature and spent the first four and a half months of my life in a near-sterile intensive care unit. I think this set the groundwork for screwing up my immune system. I think my immune system didn't have enough to keep itself busy so began attacking harmless particles and developed a ton of allergies and Type 1 diabetes (I got it when I was 9, but the process actually begins years earlier).

This was in conjunction with a genetic predisposition, of course. All members of my immediate family have varying allergies (although mine are worst, in number at least), and there are numerous allergies and autoimmune conditions in my extended family. I just think my premature birth was probably the "trigger" since I haven't had anything else happen in my life that I can think of that might have triggered my immune system.

I don't actually believe people can get Type 1 from getting sick a month before diagnosis. There are studies showing the destruction of beta cells takes years in most cases. Maybe getting sick was the final straw that caused blood sugar to spiral out of control, but the underlying autoimmune process was probably going on for months or years prior to diagnosis.

Jen and Shawnmarie…That makes sense what you both say that the T1 was probably years in the making and then finally it comes to head. I didn’t realize there were actual studies that indicated this too. Do you have any particular links to those findings? Otherwise, I’ll google for some.

Bad Luck! All kidding aside I think its the right combination of genetics and environment that lead one's body to attack itself. I was ill with an intestinal bug a few weeks before I was diagnosed. I believe this bug began an autoimmune response to my pancreas that led to T1.

Science also has its opinions: http://health-7.com/Textbook%20of%20Endocrinology/CHAPTER%2031%20-%20TYPE%201%20DIABETES%20MELLITUS/5. As you can see from the second graph, some indivduals can have autoantibodies linked to T1 for over 10 years before being diagnosed.

A few years before my T1D diagnosis at the age of 30, I was infected with Rocky Mountain spotted fever from a tick bite. This was a significant insult to my immune system and 1 in 5 of these case are fatal.

I was treated with IV tetracycline for 24 hours. That killed the bug but I wonder what role this episode played in my slide into LADA T1D. I'll never know and understanding will not change anything for me.

As someone said here recently, "understanding is the booby prize." For me, that is. Understanding, however, may lead to eventual prevention of diabetes, truly the holy grail.

Fell off my skateboard when I was 14, broke my left arm. 30 days later & 30 pounds lighter, I went to the doctor & found out I was type 1. How I wish I walked that night..

I sprained my ankle playing soccer. It was 1984 and the tx @ that time was a cast for 8 weeks!! Yuk. I got the cast off for that when I'd been admitted to the hospital for T1 dx.

This is a fascinating subject. Dan Hurley wrote an excellent book called 'Diabetes Rising' where he devotes several chapters to the subject.

He includes such hypotheses such as cow's milk. He quotes the New England Journal of Medicine: "...recent studies in animals suggesting that bovine serum albumin is the protein in cow's milk responsible for triggering an autoimmune response..."

He also talks a bit about the risks of 'persistant organic pollutants'. He has evidence that certain parts of the country where various pollutants exist at high levels, there is a greater incidence of both type 1 and type 2.

He also examines the effect of too little sunshine and vitamin D. Hurley says: "... a young Danish researcher named Elina Hyponen, PhD, asked [some people who had participated in a trial thirty years previously] to do a survey matching their vitamin D intake to their risk of ever getting type 1 diabetes. Compared to their non-diabetic peers, those with diabetes were over eight times more likely to have never received vitamin D...".

He also devotes a chapter to the 'hygiene hypothesis' - or being TOO clean. In 2008, a study was published in the journal Nature involving NOD (non-obese diabetic) mice. It involved studying the mice in messy versus clean environments. The mice that were "kept hyper-clean, inside and out ... developed diabetes. Their diabetes, in other words, was literally caused by nothing, a total lack of bacteria."

It's a fascinating book. I should buy it, but I just check it out of the library every year or so to refer to. I think these hypotheses are included in the article Shawnmarie linked to, but that article is a little tough to read.


I was diagnosed with T1 at the age of 18. No one in my family has T1, however, there are a lot of autoimmune diseases. I was born about 2.5 months premature and had horrible allergies and asthma growing up. I had a horrible stomach flu in January of 2009 and was diagnosed with diabetes in April of 2009. Not sure if any of this is connected but it seems very likely.

Genetics--Family history on both sides. I remember being asked by friends at the time if I had recently had a viral infection, and telling them honestly that I had not even had a cold in the previous year. I was in my 40s, and feel very lucky that I was not misdiagnosed as Type 2 or LADA. My family history helped a lot in getting the correct dx immediately.

Last year I went to a presentation about Trialnet which is the ongoing study of siblings, children, and other close relatives of people with Type 1. One of the major purposes of the study is to find ways to prevent Type 1 or delay the onset of the disease. But they are finding out, as Jen mentioned, that Type 1 is usually brewing with measurable antiboides for a long time, often years, before the disease totally manifests itself. So IMO in most cases, these memorable events prior to diagnosis are most likely the stressor that put our bodies over the edge, not the “cause” of our diabetes.

But that doesn’t mean that we can’t think whatever we want and wish that somehow we could backtrack to that flu shot or broken ankle or whatever. I’m certainly old enough to look back and wonder what I would be like now if I’d never had diabetes.

Good point, Laddie. You’re probably right.

I think I have been type 1 for a long time due to symptoms my whole life but I did have a virus or something 6 months before I started going into dka. My bg was pretty normal then though. There were more symptoms 2-3 years before that. I also think emotional stresses before dka lowered my ability to fight it and someone bought me a huge box of chocolate a month before I started going in to dka, I'm credit that for the final stress to my pancreas so to speak. I'm not sure about the diet part though, because going into dka actually makes you crave sugar due to starvation of glucose.. I drank a gallon of milk and several glasses of oj at that time and still felt hungry/thirsty.

For the year leading up to my diagnosis, I was sick with everything; flu, colds, stomach bugs, skin infections constantly - very out of character for me. I've worked in childcare for years and never caught all the bugs that go around, with the exception of that year. You name it, I had it. I saw the doctor only once in that year for heavy duty antibiotics for a persistant skin infection that took months to heal. I wish I'd gone sooner and had some blood tests done. I was a little over weight, ate lot's of carbs, and have no family history of diabetes, but do have some autoimmune and endocrine stuff.

Cocksackie B virus - I had it 3 months before I was dxed. No history of D in my family.

T1 is an autoimmune condition. If you look closely this condition is running in all families of T1 diabetics. This condition manifests itself in a multitude of very harmless conditions: skin changes, thyroid problems and eventually and very rarely T1. Still the condition is the driver behind all of that. It only affects some T-cells changing their behaviour so they are becoming rogue T-cells. These cells have problems to identify our own tissue as friendly tissue. One day the big crisis comes: an infection, vaccination etc. will bring the immune system to higher alert. Now the rogue T-cells will start to inspect very closely and find tissue they do not like. Eventually they start to fight the blood cells supplying the beta cells with blood. This is the beginning of the slow and irreversible death of our beta cells. The trigger is not important because the condition was always there - right from the beginning of our life. Our family members show that life can be fine with this condition. It is an oddity of life that the attack was - of all things possible - aimed against the precious blood vessels for the tiny mass of beta cells. The knowledge about the trigger does not help much. You can not stop the T-cells from this rogue behaviour. You should not skip vaccinations and the next infection is right around the corner for every living being. Immuno suppressants might be potent enough to stop them. But who wants to exchange T1 with a higher risk of developing cancer? That approach offers no cure. To regrow the blood vessels with our own stem cells seems more promising to me. Perhaps every 2 years or so to work against the ongoing attack of the T-cells. If this is affordable and risks and benefits are balanced. Perhaps Dr. Faustmann even manages one day to teach the rogue T-cells how to behave...

I actually went to Dr. Faustmann's lab last week with my husband and donated blood. It was a fun day for my, my husband not so much as he has crappy veins.
So what I understand is the any of my 3 siblings could have developed D if they had been exposed to the trigger. But I am the "lucky" one.

Well, I think your siblings will be more prone to autoimmune conditions nothing more. And I think the direction this takes is vague and not directed by any trigger. But I am sure that all T1 can expect to develop more than 2 more pronounced autoimmune conditions in their life - mostly harmless but annoying to some degree.

This is similar to what happened to me... I'm pretty sure now I've had type one for years before it ever showed up in bg, all those symptoms finally make sense to me now, although I did have hypoglycemia showing up 10 years before high bg.