[Previous Months][Date Index][Thread Index][Join - Register][Login]
[Message Prev][Message Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

Re: [IPk] Genetics

Hi Liam and Babs,

Supposedly, only 5-6% of all people who have type 1 have a relative who had 
it. I have no history of type 1 or type 2 in my family personally, but even 
if there were a history of type 2, it would probably not have everything to 
do with my having type 1. Scientists are leaning towards saying that a) some 
people have a genetic susceptibility to type 1, and b) there are 
environmental or viral 'triggers' that, when susceptible people encounter 
them, put the autoimmune system in a tizzy so it goes nuts and wipes out the 
Islets of Langerhans cells that make insulin.

Type 2 and type 1 are essentially different conditions with such different 
risk factors that it's kinda not useful to lump them together. The symptoms 
begin to look alike when type 2 goes untreated for a while, so the ancients 
who first noticed the symptoms (without knowledge of the causes) coined the 
term 'diabetes mellitus' to describe the presence of sugar in the urine. 
With type 2 being so connected to heredity and lifestyle and type 1 being 
(it seems) the result of recessive genes and stuff you couldn't change if 
you tried, it's hard to compare the two.

Liam, your chances of having a diabetic child are hard to guess, but it's 
definitely not a sure thing and it's not impossible. Your attitude towards 
raising a child with diabetes is probably more important. You could adopt a 
three month-old 'non-diabetic' child who gets diagnosed with type 1 at age 
12 and wind up in the same place as if you'd had one of your own!

I have thought about whether I would want testing to see whether a 
particular embryo carried the 'susceptibility' gene for type 1 if I were 
pregnant someday. I've decided that if such a test were available, I 
wouldn't have it done. If the current scientific thinking holds, the chance 
that a child would develop diabetes even if he/she carried the genes for it 
would still depend on factors beyond my (or anyone else's) control. Other 
things, like asthma or rheumatoid arthritis, could still be part of the 
genetic profile. Is asthma 'less bad' than diabetes?  What if one embryo 
carried the markers for asthma _and_ arthritis, and another just had the one 
for diabetes? Which would I choose? At least I already know something about 
diabetes--but how much should that affect the decision? The slippery slope 
gets steep fast. (Can y'all tell I did some ethics in the past ;> ?) 
Ultimately, we can control our own destinies and those of our loved ones 
only so far. Sometimes we just have to play the hands we're dealt.

My current plan to have one child of my own (hopefully in the next 10 
years--I need to get out more!) is based on my desire to have as much 
control over my health and that of the baby as possible: I hope to follow 
the recommendations about keeping terrific blood sugars for a year before 
getting pregnant and then for a few months post-partum. What takes most 
women 9 months will take me 18 or so.  Maybe I'll be 'lucky' and have twins 
or something; otherwise I'm thinking I might adopt a second child.

More than you wanted to know,

IDDM 8 years; MiniMed pumper almost 6

Chat with friends online, try MSN Messenger: http://messenger.msn.com
for HELP or to subscribe/unsubscribe, contact: HELP@insulin-pumpers.org
help SUPPORT Insulin Pumpers http://www.insulin-pumpers.org/donate.shtml