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June 16, 2005

Genetics and Heredity, Other

Question from United States:

My children's grandfather has type 1 diabetes, diagnosed in his 20s. Their six year cousin also has type 1 diabetes. Will a healthy diet and physically active lifestyle prevent or delay the onset of diabetes if they're predestined genetically for it? Also, should we have them tested preventatively for it if there are no symptoms of the disease?

Answer:

A family history of diabetes, likely type 1, does make this child more likely than the general population to develop diabetes. There are tests, done at referral centers, which can help define risk of diabetes developing. At present, we cannot prevent development of diabetes. If you choose to test, find a referral center. If you choose to observe, read about the Symptoms of diabetes and be aware to prevent the development of severe diabetes before you are diagnosed.

LD