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March 13, 2002

Genetics and Heredity

Question from Lemoyne, Pennsylvania, USA:

Three close relatives died from diabetes, and while my mother-in-law does not have it, but she does have an autoimmune disorder, and I am confused and concerned about the risk my two children (ages one and four) have for developing type 1 diabetes. Are my kids at increased risk of developing this disease? If so, how much of a risk?


From: DTeam Staff

Assuming that all of the diabetes in your husband’s family is type 1 (insulin dependent or childhood) diabetes, your children are at a slightly increased risk from a genetic point of view. However, this is likely to be relatively slight, so you should not worry. To put this in perspective, children with a first degree (parent or sibling) with diabetes have a 6% risk.


[Editor’s comment: See The Risk of Developing Type 1 Diabetes.