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February 16, 2001

Research: Causes and Prevention

Question from the United Kingdom:

I was monitored for gestational diabetes whilst pregnant with my now four year old son. Is there any research to say that he could develop diabetes? I only ask this he because he suffers from night sweats and lack of appetite quite regularly.

Answer:

If a mother has type 1 diabetes, the known risk for a son or daughter is approximately 2-3%. If you only had diabetes while pregnant, it is significantly less than this, but we do not have exact figures, and I suspect that they do not differ very much from the general population (about 1 in 800 in the United States and a bit higher in the UK).

Your son’s night sweats and lack of appetite are not likely symptoms of diabetes at all, but you should check with your son’s doctor to see what these might indicate after a thorough history and physical exam.

SB