Childhood trauma may increase diabetes risk

A new study suggests that Children who witness a death in the family or go through their parents’ divorce may be at 3 times higher risk of developing type 1 diabetes before the age of 14 than those who did not have those or similar traumas.Swedish researchers say this extra risk applies even when other factors such as a family history of either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, their development in the womb or childhood body mass index (BMI) are discounted.Swedish researchers set out to investigate whether emotional shocks – sometimes called serious life events – can increase the risk of type 1 diabetes in children.A range of traumatic experiences were included in this analysis such as the death of a relative, domestic violence, parental divorce and having to adapt to new family environments.The study, published in the journal Diabetologia, looked at 10,495 children from southeast Sweden, of whom 58 were subsequently diagnosed with type 1 diabeteThe authors go on to discuss the reasons why serious life events may trigger type 1 diabetes. One possible explanation is that the trauma could create increased insulin resistance coupled with an increased demand for insulin due to stress. Another might be an imbalance in the body’s immune system as a result of long periods of stress which might lead to the immune system turning on the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.The authors conclude: “As experience of stressful life events cannot be avoided, children and their parents should get adequate support to cope with these events to avoid their consequences, which could include medical issues.”

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3 comments

  1. Hey Elsie. I am a nutritionist and I always suggest diabetic patients to take a healthy diet and exercise daily. But, the information you shared in the blog about how childhood trauma increases the risk of diabetes is something new for me too. Thanks for sharing such an informative blog.

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