You are not alone. In fact, having someone in your family who has type 1 diabetes when you are diagnosed is the exception, rather than the rule. As Dr. Jason Gaglia , M.D., M.M.Sc. , researcher at Joslin Diabetes Center explains, “At most only 10 to 15 percent of persons with type 1 diabetes have an affected first degree relative (the majority of people diagnosed do not have a known family history of type 1 diabetes). Given that the genes are very common, why some people develop type 1 diabetes and others do not is not clear. It is hypothesized that there may be environmental factors that may play a role (viruses, certain food items, etc.) but this has not been fully answered as of yet and may be different for different individuals.”
Unfortunately at present we don’t have a way to identify those at risk when they don’t have a family history. As more research is done on type 1 diabetes we may find out more about environmental triggers as well as genetics and be better able to predict who will come down with the disease.