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Question:

From Alabama, USA:

I am a 52 year old woman who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes two years ago. I have a 23 year old son who was a diabetic from age 10, and died at age 44 of diabetic complications. I have 3 other people in my family who have Type 1 diabetes. I had a C-peptide test to be sure I was Type 1.

My question is twofold: How common is it for someone my age to have this severe form of diabetes (4 shots per day)? And, what type of prevention testing or research is available to help my son since he would be high-risk?

Answer:

Type 1 Diabetes, or as it is sometimes nowadays more specifically called Type 1A Diabetes, is a disorder of the immune system. The preclinical stage with its very gradual destruction of insulin producing capacity, can last for many years, although it can be detected during this period by the presence of certain antibodies in the bloodstream. The incidence is at its most common in the years up to about eighteen: in Caucasian families in the U.S. and in most of western Europe the figure quoted is about 18 per 100,000 per year. After that new cases become increasingly less frequent; but still not that unusual in the 40's and I know of one anecdotal instance in someone in their 60's.

Currently there are a number of trials being conducted to see if insulin dependance can be deferred and the impact of small blood vessel complications diminished. The most accessible for your son would be one called the DPT-1. This uses either very small doses of subcutaneous insulin or oral insulin to try to achieve these goals. The best way to get started would be to call 1-800-425-8361; they will send details of how blood samples need to be collected and it is almost certain that they will want to repeat the antibody test on yourself.

DO'B

Original posting 9 Mar 1998
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:56
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