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Type 1 Diabetes: Characteristics, Epidemiology

Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes is a rare form of diabetes. Between five and ten percent of patients who are diagnosed with diabetes suffer from this form of diabetes. It is an autoimmune condition that causes the immune system of the patients to damage cells that produce insulin. The absence of insulin in the body makes absorption of fats and sugars impossible. As a result, this increases the level of blood sugar which is harmful to the body.

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Type 1 diabetes exhibits different characteristics depending on the person suffering from the disease, place, and time. This fact about the disease was revealed by researchers after they carried out a study at the University of Helsinki. During the study, an organization called Knip collected epidemiological data on childhood diabetes. The data revealed that children who suffered from the disease at the age of two years or younger had high levels of plasma glucose. In addition, they had increased acidity and recurrent diabetic ketoacidosis (Kalvaitis, 2011).

The disease can also be described in terms of place. Researchers have identified that it is more prevalent in some areas than others. For example, it is common among people from the Northern part of Europe and the Mediterranean groups. About race, the literature looked at revealed that the disease is prevalent among the Whites due to unknown reasons. However, it is not common among other races such as African Americans and Asians. Epidemiological data shows that 50% of African Americans who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes do not get quality health care. As a result, their chances of dying from the disease are higher than those of Caucasians (Diabetes: Type 1, 2012).

Between 1984 and 1993, researchers established that certain seasons were associated with an increase in the number of type 1 diabetes infections. They did this by carrying out a comprehensive study in Scotland. It revealed that the number of children aged between five and nine years who were diagnosed with the disease in December was higher than that of July. The study did not reveal any seasonality in children aged between zero and four years. However, they observed that seasonality was not a universal phenomenon (Hanas, 2009).

To establish the descriptive epidemiology of type 1 diabetes, various methods can be used. The most popular ones are medical records and surveys. Researchers can gather detailed information about the disease by studying medical reports. For instance, they can find out the ages of people diagnosed with the disease and the geographical places where it occurs most. In addition, surveys can be used to get first-hand information about the disease. These two methods influence the completeness of case identification thus providing researchers with valid and credible data (Levy, 2011).

The purpose of collecting epidemiological data is to find out the causes of various health issues to improve human health (What is Descriptive Epidemiology?, 2012). Epidemiological information that reveals the characteristics of type 1 diabetes is related to place, time and the person suffering from the disease. The information can therefore be used to generate a hypothesis. For example, most African Americans die from complications that arise from the disease. This is because the epidemiological data that researchers obtain shows that African Americans do not get appropriate health care. However, a hypothesis requires intensive research to establish facts.


Diabetes: Type 1. (2012). Web.

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Hanas, R. (2009). Type 1 Diabetes in Children, Adolescents and Young Adult, New York: Class Publishing Ltd.

Kalvaitis, K. (2011). Type 1 diabetes disease characteristics differ based on age at diagnosis. Web.

Levy, D. (2011). Type 1 Diabetes, New York: Oxford University Press.

What is Descriptive Epidemiology? (2012). Web.

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