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What is MODY?  |  Living with MODY  |  Testing and Diagnosis  |  MODY FAQ  |  Resources

 

What is MODY?

 

What is MODY?

MODY is a monogenic form of diabetes that is often confused with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.1 MODY decreases the amount of insulin a person’s body makes, which in turn limits the body’s ability to control the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Too much sugar in the body’s blood can damage body tissue, particularly the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and blood vessels.  This means that patients who really have MODY may not know it and may not be getting the right type of treatment.

 

What causes MODY?

MODY is caused by errors, or mutations, in a single gene, and in most cases, the gene mutation is inherited from a parent. This makes MODY different from type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, which are caused by changes in many genes and/or other factors such as being overweight or having high blood pressure. To date, scientists have identified eight genes that are associated with several different types of MODY.

 

Who gets MODY?

MODY usually develops during childhood or early adulthood but sometimes remains undiagnosed until later in life. Because MODY is inherited, people with MODY may have other family members with symptoms of diabetes. Over half a million people in the United States have MODY. That makes it about as common as type 1 diabetes.2

 

Signs and Symptoms of MODY

Patients with MODY may have the typical signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, like high blood sugar, being thirsty a lot, and urinating a lot. But many MODY patients do not have these symptoms.

 

A person may have MODY if these things are true1:

  • Has high blood sugar that was discovered before age 30 (though anyone under age 50 may have MODY)
  • Has a close family member with diabetes, such as a parent or sibling
  • Does not need much insulin to regulate blood sugar
  • Is not overweight, although overweight or obese people may also have MODY
  • Does not have high blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • Is not resistant to insulin
  • Was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before 6 months of age

If you or your child has symptoms that could be caused by MODY, talk with a doctor about whether or not genetic testing might be the right choice for you or your family.

 

What can you do?

The good news is that there is a genetic test for MODY. This test can help diagnose most people who have MODY. If you or your child has symptoms that could be caused by MODY, talk with a doctor about whether or not genetic testing might be the right choice for you or your family.

  1. Hattersley, A., et al., (2006) Pediatric Diabetes, 7:352–360. 
  2. Raeder, H., et al., (2006) Nature Genetics, 38(1): 54-62.
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