Type 1 diabetes mellitus is a chronic medical condition that occurs at any age when the pancreas, an organ in the abdomen, produces very little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body to absorb and use glucose and other nutrients from food to store fat and build up protein. Without insulin, blood glucose (sugar) levels become higher than normal, resulting in complications including high blood pressure, obesity, and heart conditions.
A blood test can measure the amount of sugar in the body for diabetes diagnosis. Because close relatives (children, siblings) of a person with type 1 diabetes have an increased risk for the disease, genetic testing can help determine whether a family member is at risk of developing diabetes. Understanding a predisposition to type 1 diabetes mellitus, also known as Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM), allows for early adoption of lifestyle changes to help reduce the risk of the disease or minimize its effects.
Chart 1 is adopted from publications referenced below.
Chart 1: Genetic Markers in Susceptibility to Type 1 Diabetes.