Can type 1 diabetes be blamed on environment?
When it comes to type 1 diabetes, research suggests there is a clear genetic component responsible for the development of the disease.
Yet genes are only part of the story - studies on identical twins, for instance, suggest that there may be other factors involved.
So what about environment? Can a person's surroundings put them at a higher risk for developing type 1 diabetes?
According to The American Diabetes Association, yes - environment may very well play a role.
The type of climate you live in might influence your type 1 diabetes risk, the organization says. Type 1 diabetes tends to develop more in winter months than in summer, and rates of the disease are higher in countries with cold climates.
Bacteria and viruses
Since type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, researchers suggest there may be a connection to bacteria and/or viruses. So if a person is exposed to some type of infection, this could raise risk for developing the blood sugar condition.
Studies have shown that people who were breastfed are less likely to have type 1 diabetes. The condition is also less common in people who first ate solid foods later in infancy.
While scientists don't know why, certain countries have higher rates of diabetes than other countries. Finland and Sweden, for example, have more residents with type 1 diabetes than other countries.
And if your mother had gestational diabetes while pregnant with you, your risk of developing diabetes later in life may also be higher, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Source: The American Diabetes Association, Mayo Clinic