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From California, USA:

My father has Type 1 diabetes, and I have high concerns about the genetic inheritance of this disease. I am 23 and keep a pretty healthy diet involving much produce, juices, fish, and proteins. (I must confess I have a sweet tooth as well.)

From my understanding, the inheritance of diabetes is due to both genetics and the environment. What positive contributions are there to prevent such an illness to enter my life? Are there preventative measures that I can take or is it a fact if I am going to inherit diabetes, there isn't much to do about it? How often should I be tested? And what exactly is involved with the testing process?


Based on genetics studies, there's a small chance (about 5 to 10%) that you will develop Type 1 diabetes.

Currently, there's a nation-wide trial, called the DPT-1 underway aimed at prevention of diabetes. The initial screening testing in the DPT involves a simple blood test for the presence of antibodies against the insulin-making cells. Contact your local American Diabetes Association Chapter for information about testing sites in your area.

There's nothing you can do to alter the genetic odds. As for the environmental component, it is possible that your current healthy life style may decrease the likelihood that you will develop diabetes. We always encourage family members, as well as our patients, to maintain a healthy diet, physical activity, and a positive outlook on life.


Original posting 11 Aug 96
Updated January 16, 2006


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