If a child has a parent or sibling with Type 1 diabetes, they are at about 15 times higher risk than the general population for developing the disease. There are two tests a doctor can use to find out if a child has inherited a high risk for diabetes. However, because knowing a child's risk does not help doctors prevent the disease, the American Diabetes Association only recommends using these tests in children who have a parent or sibling with diabetes and who are entering to a scientific study that requires the information.
In Type 1 diabetes, the immune system
attacks insulin-producing pancreas cells. When the
immune cells attack the pancreas, they make proteins
called antibodies that are designed to fight against pancreas tissue. These antibodies are present as much as eight years before the onset of diabetes. If doctors find these antibodies, the child is at higher risk for developing diabetes than the general population.
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