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From South Africa:

As my 9 year old son was diagnosed last week as having diabetes, it would be appreciated if you could answer the following questions:

  1. What in the long term prognosis? While I understand that this is a lifelong illness, is a cure imminent, or is there a drug/drugs on the horizon that will reduce the daily insulin injections?
  2. What will be the effect of him having a BCG vaccination?
  3. Is there a risk that my 7 year old daughter will become diabetic?
  4. Will my son still be able to play contact sports such as rugby?
  5. Will he pass the disease onto his children?


As yet we have no cure or prevention for diabetes. There is extensive ongoing research looking for a cure, a prevention, better treatment, and ways to prevent complications. With good care, most children with diabetes can lead active, normal lives. You should work closely with a Pediatric Endocrinologist and supporting Diabetes Team to learn to balance your child's food and insulin to match his exercise. There are many professional athletes with insulin dependent diabetes.

First degree relatives of individuals with diabetes (this includes parents, siblings, and children) have approximately a 3 to 10 percent chance of developing diabetes in their life time. You can find a lot of information regarding research about prevention. There has been some research using BCG to try and either prevent diabetes or prolong the remission phase in newly-diagnosed diabetes. Right now, this remains experimental and your child should only receive BCG if he is part of an organized study, or if there is some reason for him to receive it to prevent TB (unrelated to diabetes).


Original posting 13 Oct 96


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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