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May 20, 2004

Genetics and Heredity

Question from Jessup, Maryland, USA:

My 12 year old daughter was diagnosed in September 2003 with type 1 diabetes. I immediately asked the doctor if there was a chance that one of my younger boys would end up with it also. They are ages ten and four. The doctors that I have all asked said that the chances were low since no one else in the family has it. However, the more I read, the more I find that siblings are diagnosed not too long after the initial child. Is this common? Should I be checking my younger boys? For example, once a month should I make them use the ketostix to try and help my feelings with this issue?

Answer:

Siblings of children with Type 1 do indeed have an increased risk of developing diabetes. About five of 100 siblings of children with diabetes will develop diabetes. I would not suggest routinely testing them, but rather, I would suggest monitoring them on a long term basis for the Symptoms of Diabetes. I would not suggest using ketostix as a screening tool.

MSB