Diabetes autoimmune disease // Drug Repurposing

Diabetes autoimmune disease

Diabetes, an autoimmune disease?

There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 and type 2. Type 2 may be the most commonly known and has been referred to as adult onset diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, however, is insulin dependent and is likely an autoimmune disorder.

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong chronic disorder. As with other autoimmune diseases the body mistakes itself as an enemy and attacks itself. With type 1 diabetes the body targets cells in the pancreas that produce the insulin necessary to break down glucose. Glucose is a key source of energy for the body. Without insulin the body is unable to capture the energy contained in glucose. Glucose levels in the blood continue to build and high blood levels of glucose are bad for the body. Symptoms for type 1 diabetes are very similar to symptoms of gestational diabetes. In gestational diabetes, however, hormones work to block insulin receptors as opposed to destroying cells that produce insulin.Individuals living with type 1 diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to have a stroke than people not living with diabetes. They are also more likely to develop hypertension and blindness. Diabetes is also the leading cause of kidney failure.What are common symptoms?· Strong thirst· Hunger· Fatigue· Weight loss· Shaking· Increased urination· Fruity breath odorWho is most affected by type 1 diabetes?Type 1 diabetes can be diagnosed in anyone but is most commonly diagnosed in children and adolescents. Rates of diagnoses are higher among non-Hispanic Blacks and some Hispanic populations, but Caucasians are more likely to develop diabetes compared to other racial/ethnic groups (1). Interestingly, a person is less likely to develop diabetes if the mother has diabetes than if the father has diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes occurs equally in women and men.Some studies have suggested that there is a link between vitamin D deficiency and type 1 diabetes. One study found that the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was higher among individuals with type 1 diabetes. The study was cross-sectional so there is no way of knowing which came first (2). Another study found that vitamin D deficiency was associated with later development of type 1 diabetes (3). These studies indicate that vitamin D may play an important role in preventing the development of this disease. More research needs to be done on this topic before conclusions can be drawn.2. Bin-Abbas B.S., Jabari M.A., Issa S.D., Al-Fares A.H., Al-Muhsen S. (2011). Vitamin D levels in Saudi children with type 1 diabetes. Saudi Medical Journal. 32(6):589-92.3. Bener A., Alsaied A., Al-Ali M., et al. (2009). High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in type 1 diabetes mellitus and healthy children. Acta Diabetologica. 46(3):183-9.

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