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September 11, 2007

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from South Africa:

My daughter is 10 years old. Her father has type 1 diabetes, diagnosed when he was 27 years old. I realize my child has an estimated 6% chance of becoming a diabetic. She started getting headaches when she was five years old (brain scan results and eye tests were normal). Soon after she was born, she also experienced a few “bladder infections.” Less than a year ago, she had a kidney ultrasound and it was found that her one kidney was a little larger than normal. She then had a more intensive “kidney function scan” and the results were normal. A few months ago, my daughter had a vaginal infection, but it soon cleared up. She has also been gaining weight, but not a lot. During her last visit to the pediatrician a few months ago, a urine test was perfectly normal, no sugar, protein, etc. Could all these signs (headaches, kidney issue, bladder, weight gain, etc.) be the very early stages by diabetes?

I may be overreacting, but I’ve always been a little anxious about my daughter becoming a diabetic.

Also, my daughter’s paternal grandmother is hypothyroid and her aunt has Graves’ disease. Does my daughter have a really good chance of developing one or more of these diseases. Which one, diabetes or thyroid, is she more likely to develop?


From: DTeam Staff

None of these sound like diabetes as you describe them. You are correct that thyroid disease and type 1 diabetes are autoimmune problems and so have some genetic component/risk. We do not have accurate figures for thyroid problems, but for type 1 diabetes, we believe that the risk is in the neighborhood of 2 to 6% from father to child. There is some evidence from research studies in England that obesity is at least a partial trigger, so making sure that she does not gain excess weight would be helpful. Nothing else that is clinically available and safe is yet discovered to prevent type 1 diabetes or thyroid if this is “programmed” and if the right “trigger” occurs.