We have no history of diabetes in our family and yet both my sons have been diagnosed as Type 1 within a 3 year span of one another. How has this happened and are the rest of the family now at risk as well?
The genetics of type 1 diabetes is complicated. There are several different genes which have been found to be associated with type 1 diabetes. That is to say that these genes are more common in people with type 1 diabetes than in the general population. It seems that these genes do not cause type 1diabetes, but may make people susceptible to it. A person with this susceptibility would then develop the disease when exposed to some environmental trigger. In the U.S., the risk of developing type 1 diabetes is approximately 1%. Among those with a first degree relative (parent, sibling, or son) who has the disease, the risk is approximately 10%. A more detailed discussion of this topic is available on the Joslin web site. http://www.joslin.org/info/genetics_and_diabetes.html