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Question:

From Wilmington Delaware, USA:

My 13 year old son was diagnosed two months ago with Type 1 diabetes. There is no family history of Type 1 or even Type 2 as far back as we can research on either mine or my husband's family. I have many nieces and nephews as well as one other son. Do they have an increased chance of being diagnosed, and what precautions should we take, if any?

Answer:

It is been quite common that most of newly Type 1 diabetic patients denied any first degree familiar history for either Type 1 and/or Type 2 diabetes, while this was not often true for second degree relatives.

Nowadays such a statement has been changed due to recent epidemiological surveys and it is more and more common to ascertain a positive first degree familial history for type 1 diabetes and/or other autoimmune diseases (such as thyroid diseases, celiac diseases, etc.) among populations studied. However, reliable estimates of risk are only available for first degree relatives (i.e., children, siblings and parents). Therefore the overall risk of your second son is somewhere around 1:30, not terribly likely; but it varies geographically and in relation to the particular HLA genetic markers that you and your husband carry. (The risk also decreases as he gets older!)

If you were really concerned about this risk, you could talk to your doctor about getting genetic testing and autoantibody testing done. At this time there is no sure way of calculating the probabilities in your nieces and nephews.

I hope this gives you a glimpse of a complex and rapidly expanding field.

MS

Original posting 28 Nov 97

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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