I am a male with type 1 diabetes and daignosed 15 years ago. i have since married and have a three year old son who is healthy. I and my wife have been thinking of adding to the family. However, i recently came across some literature that got me worried. It stated that a child born of a father with type 1 diabetes carries a risk of 1 in 20 (5%) of developing type 1 diabetes. is this correct? And if it is, is there any way of finding out whether the child is carrying the gene while still in the womb?
Hello. Congratulations on your family, you sound like you are doing well with your control. I'm not a medical professional, just the parent of a kid with diabetes. I do not have diabetes, although type 1 runs in my family. There is a genetic component to diabetes, but it is not the only factor. The Mayo Clinic says that there is a higher risk with a type 1 parent, and it depends on the gender of the parent. The risk of type 1 diabetes in the general population is 1 percent to 2 percent. If the mother has type 1 diabetes, the risk for the child is 2 percent to 4 percent. If the father has it, the risk is 6 percent to 8 percent. They say the age at which the parent developed diabetes matters as well. The younger the age, the greater the risk that the child will get the disease.
There is a gene mutation that has been identified which indicates a higher risk for diabetes, but there is no known gene which says the child will develop diabetes. I haven't been able to find a test used for when the child is still in the womb, but it wouldn't hurt for you to verify that with your obstetrician.
More about the genes... I have read that in the case of identical twins (the point being that these two individuals have exactly the same gene structure), if one twin is diagnosed as being diabetic, only 50 percent of the other twins become diabetic. The reason is thought to be that the gene structure is only part of the cause. There must be a "trigger" virus that strikes and causes the body's immune system to attack its own pancreas in addition to the virus. And there is no way of knowing whether any particular virus infection will be the one to start the attack on the pancreas. So even with the damaged gene, some people do not develop diabetes.
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