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October 2, 2005

Genetics and Heredity

Question from Philippines:

I am 30 years old and have had type 1 diabetes for 27 years. Just last year, I was also diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Recently, while surfing through the Internet, I came across an article about the polyglandular autoimmune syndrome and I was afraid that I might be classified as one. If I have type 1 diabetes and hyperthyroidism, and test results have confirmed that I am a type II polyglandular autoimmune diseased patient, does the above increase my chances of passing my autoimmune genes to my baby? If yes, by how much? I asked because I plan to have a baby next year and now am beginning to have second thoughts because I don’t want to pass my “autoimmune gene” to my baby.


From: DTeam Staff

The type II polyglandular syndrome appears to be most commonly associated with type 1 diabetes, with up to 50% of people with this condition having this type of diabetes. It does appear that this polyglandular syndrome does run in families. Multiple generations tend to be affected. However, it does not appear to have a simple Mendelian form of inheritance. There are markers within the HLA locus (the site in your genetic code that controls your immune system). My recommendation would be to seek counseling with a genetics counselor or an expert in preconception genetic counseling to give you more specific numbers for risk.