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From Kentucky, USA:

I have had Type 1 diabetes for 13 years and have been told diabetes often "skips generations." There is no one in my immediate family other than one uncle who is borderline. Is there any truth to this, and if so, could this be the reasoning behind my developing this Illness?


It's all a little more complicated than perhaps you realise. First of all, there are a number of different forms of diabetes that young people get and their inheritance patterns may be different. In the commonest form, which is Type 1A or autoimmune diabetes, there is a genetic predisposition; but actual clinical diabetes needs to be triggered by some environmental factor. No one knows what this is yet although early exposure to certain forms of cow's milk still has some adherents. This explains why identical twins do not always get diabetes or if they do it may be many years apart.


Original posting 11 Jan 1999
Posted to Research: Causes and Prevention


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