At last count, there were close to a dozen genes connected with the development of Type 2 diabetes.
The number grows each year. As more is learned about the genetic reasons why our bodies lose the ability to control sugar levels in the blood, we have a lot of catching up to do in regard to translating this knowledge into better individualized treatment plans in the doctor??tics have this type, but it is very underdiagnosed. The medicines used for these forms may be very different. These diabetics usually have related family members, such as a parent or a grandparent, with diabetes and have a 50 percent risk of passing the MODY gene on to children.
As we learn more about the different genes that cause diabetes, it is going to provide opportunities to develop targeted treatments before high blood sugars occur and ultimately prevent the disease altogether.
Money also plays a role in this problem. New diabetes medications are much more expensive than older generics, making generics the drugs of choice by insurance companies and cost-conscious doctors. This is not a bad thing. Many old diabetes medicines are still very valuable.
The special tests required to comb through these other forms of diabetes are very expensive and are performed only at special laboratories. Many insurance companies may not pay for these special tests without lots of justification by the doctor in the form of letters and phone calls.
So while we may be making progress against diabetes, getting this knowledge to the bedside or diabetes clinic is a slow process. Just understand that you remain your best advocate.
Dr. Stephen Ponder has Type 1 diabetes. He has been a pediatric endocrinologist for 23 years. He directs the Healthy Families program at Driscoll Children??g HEALTHY to 25827. He can be contacted at 361-694-4864 or , or follow at twitter.com/dr_steve_ponder
By Dr. Stephen Ponder