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Monogenic Diabetes

Monogenic diabetes is a rare condition resulting from mutations (changes) in a single gene. In contrast, the most common types of diabetes—type 1 and type 2—are caused by multiple genes (and in type 2 diabetes, lifestyle factors such as obesity). Most cases of monogenic diabetes are inherited.

Monogenic diabetes appears in several forms and most often affects young people. In most forms of the disease, the body is less able to make insulin, a hormone that helps the body use glucose (sugar) for energy. Rarely, the problem is severe insulin resistance, a condition in which the body cannot use insulin properly.

Many people with monogenic diabetes are mistakenly diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and may not receive the best treatment. For example, some children with monogenic diabetes are misdiagnosed with type 1 diabetes and are given insulin. When correctly diagnosed, some of these children can take diabetes pills instead, with even better glucose control. A correct diagnosis may also benefit family members,who might have monogenic diabetes themselves without knowing it. An accurate diagnosis can lead to proper treatment and better health in the long term.

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The Hormone Foundation

Dr. Lysette Iglesias M.D.

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