From Ossining, New York, USA:
My son, who recently turned 13, was diagnosed with precocious puberty and treatment involves taking human growth hormone. I am concerned since we have a family history of Type 1 diabetes. My mother and a young cousin were insulin dependent from an early age, and several other relatives have had Type 2 diabetes. How great a risk is there that my son could get Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes brought on by Human Growth Hormone treatment? I am very concerned to do the right thing for him, but do not want to risk his health and I am having great difficulty getting any information.
Even recognising the family history, and assuming that it is for what is now known as Type 1A (autoimmune) diabetes the chances of your 13 year old son developing this condition during his lifetime are very small, probably no more than 0.2%, so the chances of growth hormone precipitating it are likewise very small indeed. If you wanted to be further reassured you might talk to his doctor about getting an 'antibody test' done and in the extremely unlikely event that it is positive, indicating prediabetes, you could then discuss the relative importance of the possible contribution of growth hormone to adult height, which I imagine is the reason for giving it, versus the possible early precipitation of clinical diabetes.
Original posting 28 May 2000
Posted to Research: Causes and Prevention
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