I recently started a survey for parents of T1 kids on Facebook, and now I have a summary of the results. The questions were "Are there any other T1D's among your child's relatives? What do you think triggered the diabetes?" ( I should have asked if there were any autoimmune diseases among the relatives.) There were approximately 300 replies in the five parents groups where those questions were posted. (I did not count the posts that did not answer the questions posed.)
Here is the summary:
80 (27%) of the children have at least one relative with T1.
82 (27.3%) of the parents have no clue what cause their child's T1.
151 (50.3%) of the children had a virus, or other illness before diagnosis.
Note: The percentages do not total 100% because there is an overlap involved (children who have T1 relatives, and also had an illness before diagnosis.)
There were several triggers other than colds and flu that were frequently mentioned including: Immunizations/vaccines, ear infections, hand-foot-mouth disease, chicken pox, Coxsackie disease.
In one large group there was a discussion about birth by C-section being a possible trigger for T1. Many of the moms in that group said their T1 kids were delivered by C-section.
Other reasons/triggers proposed by parents: cutting four teeth in one night, tick fever, food poisoning, auto accident, certain blood types being linked to T1, babies being fed cow's milk instead of being breast fed, surgeries before diagnosis.
I have also run this survey with my adult T1 friends on my Facebook page, and in a Joslin Medalists group. There were approximately 170 replies in the adult friends group. Here are the results:
55 (32%) in the adults group have relatives with T1
24 (14%) do not know what caused their T1
77 (45%) said a virus or disease was the trigger
Other replies: 4 gave environmental causes, 5 thought vaccinations was the trigger.
Other triggers listed were poison ivy, dog bite, stress caused by being mugged, car accident, surgeries. One person said her husband had 39 T1D's in his extended family.
The medalist group is small, with these replies:
16 have relatives with T1
5 do not know the cause of their T1
11 had a virus or disease before diagnosis
4 listed trauma as a trigger
1 said her mom's death when she was 13 was the trigger
1 said she drank a lot of unpasteurized milk before diagnosis
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