Neonatal diabetes is diagnosed in babies under 6 months old and is caused by a genetic mutation. Do you want to know more about it?

Most cases of chronic diabetes are detected during childhood. However, there is a rare type of diabetes that is found in infants from the time they are just a few months old. This is called neonatal diabetes.

As well as MODY type diabetes, is caused by a genetic mutation. This makes it one of the least frequent types of diabetes worldwide. It affects only 1 child in every 400,000 to 600,000.

If you want to know more about this rare type of diabetes, you can’t miss this article.

What is neonatal diabetes?


Also known by its acronym NMD (Neonatal Diabetes Mellitus), neonatal diabetes is a rare type of diabetes that affects newborn babies. Typically, symptoms appear before the age of 3 months. These babies do not produce enough insulin, so they have sugar spikes since birth.

It can be mistaken for diabetes type 1 because it appears very early. But its causes are completely different. NDM is caused by mutations in different genes. For example, in the GCK gene or in the insulin gene.

In contrast with most types of diabetes, not all NDM are permanent:

  • Permanent Neonatal Diabetes Mellitus (PNDM): This type of NMD is chronic and irreversible. More or less half of infants diagnosed with NMD have this type.
  • Transient Neonatal Diabetes Mellitus Mellitus (TNMD): However, TNMD is temporary. It is a temporary condition that accompanies the baby for a few years of his or her life and usually disappears in childhood. These children, on the other hand, are more likely to have their diabetes reappear at other ages.

One thing all babies with NMD have in common is how small they are. They usually have something called intrauterine growth restriction. This means that, when they are in the womb, they don’t grow well. Also, after they are born, because of NMD, they have trouble gaining weight. That is why they don’t grow as fast as others. With proper treatment for their diabetes, this problem can be solved.

Symptoms of neonatal diabetes


Babies with this disease have some characteristic symptoms:

  • Very frequent miction.
  • Rapid and agitated breathing.
  • Dehydration.
  • Weight loss.

To confirm their diagnosis, the infants take a ketone test. If the test is positive, they try to lower their blood sugar levels. Also, they undergo a molecular genetic test to find out in which gene the variation is.

What are the differences between NIDDM and type 1 diabetes?


There are some differences between type 1 diabetes and neonatal diabetes:

  • The age of diagnosis: When type 1 diabetes is diagnosed, patients are usually in childhood or adolescence, but in the case of NDM, they are newborns who do not usually reach 9 weeks old.
  • The cause: NMD is caused by a genetic mutation. Type 1 diabetes, instead, because of an autoimmune reaction of the body.
  • The duration: All Type 1 diabetes diagnoses are irreversible, but neonatal diabetes, in about half of the cases, is temporary and disappears in childhood.

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