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June 3, 1999

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Nevada, USA:

My grandson, 12 years old, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, just before Thanksgiving last year. His glucose count was 1044! Previous to this I always told my daughter that he never appeared right. He just did not look like he was well: droopy-eyed and tired, flushing red in the face, pudgy in his build (stomach and face), sleep troubles (congestion, snoring) and unusually large feces since he was about three years old. The later was accompanied by difficulty holding his movements. For years I stressed to have him checked, but nothing was ever found! When he was three, he had a seizure from his DPT shot. I believe it was the Pertussis that he reacted to. About the same time, he had a serious episode of what appeared to be Herpes Virus. Their doctor actually did not know what it was and, as I recall, had to phone a dentist to inquire regarding the symptoms! Could all this have been related to his recent diagnoses of diabetes?


From: DTeam Staff

It’s quite difficult to address your question, but though I don’t think so. In fact, Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune-mediated disease with a long prodromal phase, even many years. Genetic background and environmental factors play a complex and still not well defined role towards immune mediated destruction of pancreatic beta cells. Among a long list of environmental factors, diet and viruses have been the most investigated candidates so far even though we don’t exactly know either which, when and, last but not least, how.

To try to answer your question more specifically, viruses could act either as the first trigger to the autoimmune mechanism or as a final hit at an ongoing destructive process of the beta cells initiated a variable time before.