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There is a strong genetic link with type 1 diabetes. This can be tested for by looking at the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genotype. First-degree relatives are at higher risk. However, with any genetic condition, it is important to remember that gene expression changes in response to the epigenetic (nutritional) environment, and risk factors can be addressed with a health-care professional or nutrition/functional/naturopathic practitioner knowledgeable about epigenetics.
- Prenatal exposures include maternal had preeclampsia or metabolic syndrome .
- Environmental exposures include chemicals, especially those found in plastics and foods, specifically introduction of gluten, casein (the protein in dairy) or fruit before four months of age or late introduction (after seven months of age) grains (gluten, oat, and rice) and casein.
- Viral infections, such as Epstein-Barr virus or EBV (mononucleosis), Coxsackie, CMV, and other infections can also be risk factors for developing type 1 diabetes.
- Living in a northern climate is a risk factor that has not been fully explained.
For more information, read our full medical article on type 1 diabetes.
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