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The Relationship Between Type 1 Diabetes and Germs

Diabetes is a harmful condition that occurs when the body cannot regulate blood glucose levels with the hormone called insulin. Though most people know that type 2 diabetes is typically caused by poor eating habits that slowly make the body resistant to insulin, far less is known about the cause of type 1 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes are normally diagnosed with the chronic autoimmune condition as children and it happens when the pancreas seems to lose its ability to produce insulin. New medical research has shed some light for The Grand Strand live-in caregivers in terms of what may prevent the pancreas from working properly in people with type 1 diabetes.

Insulin is normally produced by beta cells within hormone producing cell clusters, but when people with type 1 diabetes, the immune system that is supposed to fight germs mistakenly destroys these beta cells. The cells that mistakenly harm pancreas cells are killer T-cells, a type of white blood cell that is supposed to kill germs. In a new study conducted by the Cardiff University’s Systems Immunity Research Institute that was published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, research found that certain types of germs could confuse the killer T-cells, making them attack the hormone producing cells of the pancreas.

Normally, killer T-cells use sensitive surface receptors to scan for germs, but the researchers found that some bacteria are able to alter the way killer T-cells identify malignant cells that need destroying. Though the study authors emphasize that more research needs to be done to understand precisely what causes type 1 diabetes, this new information still provides valuable insight into the condition. According to research lead Dr. David Cole, this is a significant find because it identifies an external cause that can trigger T-cells. Ultimately, these findings could potentially be used to create a medication that blocks the ability of some germs to trick T-cells into harming the pancreas.

There may be more studies needed to discover the root cause of type 1 diabetes, but there are effective treatments in place for those who live with it. If your senior loved one needs help managing his or her diabetes, call Home Care Assistance of The Grand Strand at (843) 353-3105 today. Our expertly trained caregivers ensure your loved one takes his or her medications, eats healthy foods, and attends important doctors appointments while making life at home more manageable. Schedule a free consultation when you speak to a compassionate Care Manager today.