When it comes to Diabetes, people generally take an “either/or” approach. Type 1 or Type 2. Insulin-dependent or not. Child onset or adult development. But, what if it isn’t that clear cut? What happens when the line gets a little fuzzy, and a patient doesn’t fit perfectly into one bucket or the other? They just might be MODY.
Turns out, there’s a third, far lesser known bracket of diabetic. Standing for ‘Mature Onset Diabetes of the Youth,” MODY patients are a rare breed of insulin resistors, and their bodies act quite differently than their traditional Type 2 counterparts. They are typically diagnosed in their 20’s. Whereas Type 2 generally overproduces insulin, and Type 1’s do not produce any, a MODY falls into the ‘underproduction’ range. There is, more often than not, a genetic factor at play here, stemming from a mutation of a single gene. If even one parent is considered a carrier, their child automatically has a 50% chance of inheriting it. And should it end up in their DNA, by the time they are 25, they will most likely have developed this atypical diagnosis, regardless of weight and lifestyle. Which might explain why they often fall into the non-overweight category.
This classification only affects a small number of diabetics, estimated around 1-2%. This could explain why many doctors are unaware of it, and therefore how to properly treat it. Within this third type, however, there are several subsets, the most common being:
Although they make up a small portion of those diagnosed, it is important for them to get a proper diagnosis, to identify the best treatment plan. For example, the most common form of MODY (HNF1-alpha) works by lowering the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas. However, instead of forcing additional insulin into their system, the most effective form of treatment seems to be a low-dose sulfonylurea, to increase the body’s natural production.
Further, with it being highly genetic, it’s important to understand the risks associated with passing it on to future children of the diabetic, and perhaps include testing early on to create better preparedness.
Identifying this is easy enough, if you work with a suitable practitioner who understands this third group, and will have the proper blood panels drawn, and sent in for further review.
Contact Classic Functional Health for more information or to see if you’re a candidate for testing.
Dr. David Sanders
Known as the "Dr. House" of Diabetes, he's devoted his career to helping Type II Diabetes reverse their diagnosis and live their healthiest life. Holistically. He's committed to getting to the root cause of disease and s an avid learner in all things Endocrinology.