Diabetes: MODY

MODY is the name given to a collection of different types of inherited forms of diabetes that usually develop in adolescence or early adulthood.

What is Diabetes - MODY?

MODY is the name given to a collection of different types of inherited forms of diabetes that usually develop in adolescence or early adulthood. MODY stands for “Maturity-onset diabetes of the young” and was given that name in the past because it acted more like adult type of diabetes (Type 2 Diabetes) but was found in young people.

MODY limits the body’s ability to produce insulin, but is different than the juvenile type of diabetes (Type 1 Diabetes). When our bodies don’t produce enough insulin, it can increase blood glucose levels. High blood glucose levels lead to diabetes.

Facts about MODY:

  • MODY accounts for approximately 5 percent of all U.S. diabetes cases.
  • High blood glucose levels can damage body tissues over time, including the eyes, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels.
  • MODY can show up at any age.

What are the Signs and Symptoms?

People with MODY may have mild diabetes symptoms. MODY symptoms tend to develop gradually, so you may have no symptoms at first. That’s why MODY is often left undiscovered until later in life or may be confused with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms may include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Thirst
  • Dehydration
  • Blurry vision
  • Recurrent skin infections
  • Recurrent yeast infections

People with MODY may have high blood sugar levels for many years before they experience any symptoms.

What Causes MODY?

MODY is a “monogenic” disease. This means it is caused by a single gene mutation.

A number of different gene mutations can cause MODY. If you have a family member with MODY, you have an increased risk for the condition.

While type 2 diabetes and MODY can both run in families, individuals diagnosed with MODY often have a family history of diabetes in successive generations: meaning MODY is present in a grandparent, parent and child.

How is MODY Diagnosed?

A blood sugar test is the first step toward diagnosing MODY. If your results indicate you have diabetes, your doctor may order additional tests to determine if you have MODY or another type of diabetes, such as type 1 or 2.

Since MODY is caused by a genetic mutation, a genetic test can also help diagnose it. This testing will determine the exact type of MODY.

MODY is caused by a genetic mutation passed on through the family. There’s currently no way to prevent or cure it, but it can be managed, and predicted. Knowledge is power.

How is it Treated?

MODY is often treated with oral medications or insulin injections, and some forms may not require any treatment. The specific treatment may vary depending on what genetic mutation caused the condition.

When Should You Seek Help for MODY?

If you suspect your child has MODY, talk to his or her health care provider as soon as possible. An evaluation with a Pediatric Endocrinologist experienced with MODY (like those at Nationwide Children’s Hospital) can be helpful.