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April 16, 2002

Complications

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Question from Chicago, Illinois, USA:

Both my four year old son and I have type 1 diabetes in tight control, and I work so hard to do everything I can to keep good glucose control without the lows. My father who has high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes has no complications but was recently diagnosed. However my grandmother, who has type 2 and has been on insulin for 20 years, has eye complications and hemoglobin A1cs of 12%, and my other grandmother, who also had type 2 diabetes and was on insulin for 35 years, died of complications (heart disease, amputations, nerve damage), but I am not sure what her glucose control was. What role does family history play in developing complications?

Answer:

From: DTeam Staff

Family history has some role in developing complications. For instance, twin studies performed at the University of Minnesota indicated that the identical twin is more likely to develop kidney problems if the other twin has also developed them. However, the role of glucose control may be potent enough to override some of the predisposition. What may be inherited is how the body responds to high sugars and this would not be an issue if the sugars are kept lower. I would encourage you to continue your strong work in the control of your sugars and your son’s sugars.

JTL