This rare disease develops as a result of changes (mutations) in a single gene and, in most cases, it is inherited. It mainly affects young people and is caused when the body is unable to make enough insulin; in rare cases, it’s caused by insulin resistance (where the body can’t use insulin correctly).
In some cases, monogenic diabetes is misdiagnosed as Type 1 diabetes and are given injections of insulin. However, when correctly diagnosed, the condition can be managed with diabetes pills. Monogenic diabetes is diagnosed using tests to rule out Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes; these include blood tests of glucose levels.
There are two types of monogenic diabetes:
- Maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY)
If a parent has this gene mutation their children have a 50% chance of inheriting it and will usually develop MODY before they are 25, no matter what type of lifestyle they have.
- Neonatal diabetes
This is normally diagnosed in the first six months of a baby’s life and is different from Type 1 diabetes because it’s not an autoimmune disease.