Risk Factors for Diabetes Type 1 and Type 2
The prevalence of both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes has been increasing worldwide, reaching epidemic proportions. The aetiology of both clinical entities involves a complex interplay between genes and environmental factors, and there is likely to be gene–gene, gene–environment and environment–environment interactions in the development of the diseases. There is ample evidence that environmental factors are involved, but the nature and timing of the interactions are poorly understood. The identification of definitive risk factors for type 1 diabetes still alludes us, with the implication being efforts to effectively prevent this disorder are limited. In contrast, sufficient evidence exists to enable the prevention or a slowing of the progression of type 2 diabetes through environmental and lifestyle changes. Until further evidence is available, the implementation of effective long term lifestyle programmes is critical if the ongoing diabetes epidemic is to be abated.