I struggle with the idea of having children and being diabetic. Don’t worry family; I am sure we will get to that point one day! But I honestly have a lot of fears about being pregnant and having diabetes, having an infant and having a bad blood sugar day, and passing on my diabetes gene. Two of those I can manage with taking care of my diabetes, but the one that I have no control over is passing the diabetes gene to my child. I don’t mind being diabetic I love that it is apart of my story, however, I want my children to live long and healthy lives, not have to battle each day with their blood sugars. I started looking around for some answers and luckily the American Diabetes Association had an article on the probability of you passing on the diabetes gene.
According to the American Diabetes Association genes are not enough to determine whether or not you are going to get diabetes. There was a study done with identical twins (who have identical genes) when one twin was diagnosed with diabetes the other twin would only get diabetes half of the time. For Type 1 diabetics you need to inherit the risk gene from both parents, which I did, my great grandfather from my mom’s side and my 2nd cousin on my dads. From there something in your environment can change and will trigger that risk gene to no longer be a risk, but reality. Sadly, we are not sure what that trigger is, there are some thoughts about it being cold weather the reasoning behind this is more people are diagnosed during the winter rather than the summer, or a virus of some sort.
What are the actual statistics of passing that risk gene on to your children? There are several types of variables: age of diagnosis, age during pregnancy, sex, ethnicity and more. Being a man you are at a higher risk of having a child with diabetes (1 in 17). For a woman your probability can vary based on when you got pregnant, having a child before the age of 25 gives you a higher risk of having a baby with diabetes (1 in 25). Thankfully, I have not even thought about having a baby so I can kick that statistic in the face! But you are still at risk even if you have a baby after the age of 25 (1 in 100) the age of 25. Being white gives you a higher chance of developing Type 1 diabetes with whites being the largest group among Type 1 diabetics (unfortunately, there was not a statistic for this anywhere).
I have finally come to terms with the fact that I have diabetes, I have gotten used to the pin pricks, shots, carb counting, highs, lows, and everything else that diabetics go through on a daily basis. The one thing I still have not come to terms with is being the parent of a diabetic. I applaud all of you who have a child or children with diabetes, you are probably some of the strongest people in the world in my opinion, especially those of you who are not diabetic yourselves. Having to learn about diabetes is one thing when it’s your body, but having to learn the signs of out of control blood sugars when it’s not your body takes time and patients. It terrifies me, but there are many moms out there who have fought the battle and are still fighting the battle for their children or themselves and I just hope I can be as strong as they are if and when the time comes.