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From Kansas, USA:

Is there any truth to the notion that diabetes tends to skip a generation? My dad died of complications due to Type 1 diabetes at the young age of 50. I lived with the disease for many years, but still feel naive and uneducated. I have an 11-month old daughter. She hasn't been diagnosed with diabetes, but I'm very concerned--perhaps almost paranoid--about her developing it. Is my concern justified? If so, what, if anything, can my husband and I do to reduce her chances of developing diabetes?


Nope, diabetes doesn't "skip generations." In some families, there might be an apparent skip, but it's only because diabetes shows up in a minority of children anyway, and the genetic tendency can be passed along without automatically creating a diabetic child.

Please note that the inheritance of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are different: the chances of a child of a Type 1 diabetic parent developing diabetes is in the range of 3-10%; the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes is probably more in the range of about 50%.

Researchers are conducting a study called the Diabetes Prevention Trial-Type 1 (or DPT-I for short) to determine if daily injections of small amounts of insulin will prevent the onset of diabetes in family members of people with Type 1 diabetes who have positive antibodies. Children must be at least 3 years old to enroll in the DPT-I. Other studies are also underway to see if Type 1 diabetes can be prevented.


Original posting 29 Jun 96


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