From Coral Gables, Florida, USA:
I was diagnosed Type 1 10 months ago at age 44. I had testing done at University of Florida and was confirmed with strong antibodies. I read one of your responses that said Type 1 at my age is extremely unusual. Just how unusual is it? No one knows of any family member near or distant back a couple of generations who has or had diabetes and I wish I had some clue as to where this came from. I've had a lot of stress but basically I've been healthy throughout my life. I take 4 shots a day and although I spike a lot, my glycohemoglobins have been 6.0 and 7.0.
It is not possible at this time to give an exact answer to your question, for one reason not everyone who becomes insulin dependant in an older age group is tested for antibodies so that a good many cases like yours must be missed.
You probably know already that vulnerability to Type 1 Diabetes is conferred by the pattern of a person's HLA group. This designates the characteristics of certain proteins on the surface of individual cells. Different groups have different susceptibilities and some groups are actually protective. It is only now that we are beginning to get figures for the distribution of the various HLA types in the population as a whole and to get an estimate of their relative susceptibility to Type 1 Diabetes. The Norwegians have made special contributions in this field and there is a study in this country called DAISY in which this is one of the objectives. You might consider talking to your doctor about getting HLA typing done in Miami, and if you could assemble a group of first degree relatives to volunteer too, they might be tempted. You might find that you belonged to a group with a very low susceptibility to diabetes and you might also have had a spontaneous mutation.
Original posting 13 Apr 97
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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