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From Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, USA:

In September our daughter was diagnosed with diabetes. She is now 4, and we are adjusting as well as any family can. This past week our son was diagnosed with Growth Hormone Defiency. I now know that this is also an auto-immune disorder, but I know very little about it. Does he have an increased chance of developing diabetes from this, or is it totally seperate? We don't see an endo for some time, and I have been worried about his increased chances. Also, are there any side effects to the hormones that he will be given? I was told there is an increased chance of certain cancers.


This is rather an intricate subject to answer by e-mail and you will need to discuss it in more detail with your childrens' endocrinologist. To begin with you need to know whether your daughter has Type 1A or autoimmune diabetes. This is by far the commonest form of Diabetes in Caucasian children in the US. The test which defines this is called an antibody test and if it has not been done then a phone number to contact for more details is 1-800-425-8361. If this test is positive then it is possible that this form of diabetes may be accompanied by the potential for other autoimmune conditions. This association is now called the autoimmune polyglandular syndromes Types I and II. Type II is much the commonest and the commonest associated condition is hypothyroidism. This latter problem is very easy to test for.

The next most common associated disorders are celiac syndrome and Addison's disease which can be anticipated by testing for anti-transglutaminase antibodies and anti 21-hydroxyulase antibodies. The evidence that growth hormone deficiency is a valid component of APSII is very tenuous although there have been a few reports that claim this. In short I think that the two conditions in your family are almost certainly unrelated; but at the same time I think you should discuss the advisability of additional tests with your doctor because it may be important to be forewarned of these additional possibilities.

People with autoimmuine syndromes do seem to be at some extra risk to a form of cancer called a lymphoma in later life. A reference that you might like to read although it is somewhat technical is to be found in

Finally there is a very very rare condition called the Kearns Sayre syndrome which is in fact an inherited disorder of the mitochondria in which antibody negative diabetes is found in association with growth hormone deficiency.


Original posting 14 Mar 1999
Posted to Other Illnesses


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:02
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