Totally Unscientific Poll – Type 1 Diabetes, Coxsackie, and HFMD

I am NOT a scientist. I hold no degrees in any sort of medical or biological field. I’m just curious about something.

Recently, some new articles have come out linking the Coxsackie B virus with causing type 1 diabetes, but in doing a quick Google search on “coxsackie type 1 diabetes,” it looks like researchers have been studying this potential linkage this for several years, only now it’s suddenly getting more attention. Hopefully because we are getting closer to a cure? I can dream, right?

When my daughter was a little over a year old, she brought the lovely Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) home from daycare to share with us. If you read up on HFMD, you’ll notice it’s a Coxsackie A virus.

So cute and so little! This seems so long ago, not just 1.5 years.

If you look closely, you can see some of the HFMD red spots on the bottom of her foot. She got over it quicker and had much milder symptoms than I did.

Usually, only kids under 10 get HFMD, but I was one of the “lucky” adults who caught it. I had the tell-tale brief fever, then WHAM. It felt like I was hit by a semi truck of fatigue, I got some teeny red spots on my hands and feet, but the worst symptom was the gigantic blister/set of blisters that formed in my throat and made me feel like I was swallowing sharp kitchen knives for 3-4 days. It was awful. Made eating and drinking almost unbearable.

Anyway, the reason I bring that up…..I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 21. The fact that I got HFMD as an adult probably means I did NOT get it as a child and had no immunities to it. If I HAD gotten it as a child, would it have helped me combat getting type 1 when I was 21? OR, if I had gotten HFMD as a child, would it perhaps have triggered type 1 in me at *that* age instead of waiting around until I was older?

The poll below is completely voluntary and anonymous. I’m not writing a book or some grand scientific journal entry, I’m just wondering what other people may know/may have experienced anecdotally (is that  a word?) with the coxsackie viruses and type 1 diabetes. If you have time to answer the poll, or even just comment with your thoughts and insights on this blog post, I would greatly appreciate it!!

10 thoughts on “Totally Unscientific Poll – Type 1 Diabetes, Coxsackie, and HFMD

  1. Didn’t have HFMD, but I think it was Coxsackie B that hit me… even went to the doctor a month before my official diagnosis and in looking back, it was the trigger.

  2. My 10 y/o (diagnosed at age 9 earlier this year) never had HFMD that we know of. But, she has always been a sicky and has had so many illnesses, rashes that we chalked up to her severe eczema that she never grew out of, rashes from allergies that she also hasn’t grown out of, etc that it’s so hard to tell whether maybe one of those times she was sick with a generic “virus”, according to the dr, was perhaps something more nefarious and we just never knew it. There are so many things in her medical history that could have triggered her T1 that I don’t even want to attempt to speculate what it could be because my head might literally explode. I do hope they figure it out and they can come up with some kind of preventative vaccine to prevent more people from getting T1, but since she already has it I am more focused on the present and future than I am on the past and “Could it have been’s?”

    • Definitely, we deal with it in the now, no matter what! But if they have zeroed in on it being caused by the Coxsackie family of viruses, it certainly would be nice if they could formulate a vaccine! Against both the A types and B types – because we all know diabetes sucks, and let me tell you, HFMD is still no joke if you get it as an adult!

  3. You can’t assume that you’d have protection from Coxsackie B were you previously infected with Coxsackie A. I’m not finding good references as to the antigenic variability of these two viruses, but I think it’s safe to assume they don’t confer cross-protection to one-another. Viruses within the same family might occasionally offer cross-protection (i.e., cowpox and smallpox), but often don’t (i.e., oral or genital herpes and chickenpox). You can even have enough antigenic variability between strains of a single virus that there is little or no cross-protection (why you need a new flu shot every year).

    That all said, I’m sorry you and your family had HFMD… that must have been horrid!

    • Good info, and thanks for sharing! I know with the flu virus, it’s a different strain each year, hence the need for new vaccines. But there are obviously some viruses we can vaccinate against and they last – like polio, measles, etc. – so I have no idea if the Coxsackie viruses fall into that category or not. Again, I am no expert on this subject, just theorizing for my own curiosity’s sake 🙂

  4. I’ve been following this discovery with interest too. As a child, teen, and even into my mid 20s, I’d have terrible bouts of sore throats with blisters. Doc usually called it tonsillitis, although my tonsils were never removed. I seemed to outgrow it at about 26 or 27. Type 1 diagnosis when I was 30.

    • Valerie – I had the same thing as a child! LOTS of tonsillitis and (I think) strep throat. At age 21, my ENT finally said I should have my tonsils taken out, so I did. Low and behold, I was diagnosed with Type 1 less than 3 months after having a tonsillectomy. Coincidence??!!

      • I’ve always felt there had to be a link between my diagnosis and illness, or at least due to all the antibiotics I was always taking!

      • Agreed – for many years before learning more about type 1 diabetes and how it is caused, I blamed getting my tonsils out on causing me to get it. One day “science” might show we may not have been that far from the real truth in thinking that!

  5. Honestly, I don’t know if I had HFMD before or after my diabetes diagnosis (though I *did* have it sometime during my childhood!). I definitely had strep throat just before AND chicken pox during diagnosis, and I wouldn’t doubt that there’s a correlation.

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