From Newark, Ohio, USA:
My three year old son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a little over a month ago. Now my six year old daughter is showing signs of the disease including high blood sugar readings. She is to see our endocrinologist next week. There is no known history of the disease in our family and we are in disbelief that two of our children could be diagnosed with diabetes within a months time. I was wondering if you have ever come across a similar case.
It is uncommon; but by no means unknown for two children in a family who may have similar genetic susceptibility and who have been exposed to the same environment to develop clinical diabetes. The absence of a family history is common.
Additional comments from Dr. Stuart Brink:Unfortunately, most of us who have large pediatric endocrine practices have families like yours where several youngsters get diabetes rather closely together and even without any strong family history. When specific genetic studies have been done in such circumstances, almost always the two siblings have identical gene potential in an area called the HLA region of the short arm of chromosome #6. By chance, you and your husband probably have passed along these gene areas. Also, are there other disease that are positive in either you or your husband or families: for example, thyroid problems, celiac disease, adrenal insufficiency called Addison's disease or pernicious anemia needing vitamin B12 or folic acid supplementation? These are all autoimmune disorders that are similar genetically in potential to type 1 diabetes and may give you a clue without expensive genetic markers. Your child's pediatric endocrinologist should be able to answer your questions in much more detail.
Additional comments from Dr. Larry Deeb:Regrettably yes, so don't deny the truth if it is there. If it turns out to be a false alarm, consider being tested for DPT-1; your endocrinologists will know about it.
Additional comments from Dr. Matthew Brown:There is a genetic link to diabetes. The most recent figures I have heard suggest that siblings of a child with diabetes have a 4-6% chance of developing diabetes. I would recommend reading more about what causes diabetes at http://www.uchsc.edu/misc/diabetes/chap3.html.
Original posting 5 Jul 2000
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:11
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