Decoding MODY: How a genetic profile test saves you from unnecessary worry

A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that premature mortality from Diabetes rose by 5% between 2000 and 2016.[1] From lifestyle-induced reasons to genetic factors, there are numerous diabetes risk factors. With more people getting diagnosed with Diabetes, it is of critical importance to increase the availability of Insulin. But Insulin therapy is not without its struggle. If the daily dose is not closely calculated, it can lead to a medical emergency.

Studies have found that some patients who have an inherited form of diabetes are responsive to a different type of medications and may eliminate the use of Insulin. This form of Diabetes is referred to as “Type 3” or “Type 1.5”, more commonly called as Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY). MODY is relatively rare and has its unique clinical characteristics. Since the signs and symptoms of MODY are similar to Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, it often goes undetected in patients. The only way to properly find MODY is through a genetic profile test.

What causes MODY?

To understand what causes MODY, it is crucial to understand Diabetes in general. Several diabetic risk factors can lead to problems with Insulin, which is required for the glucose in food to enter your bloodstream and uptake of glucose from bloodstream to tissues. While in Type 1 diabetes, this happens because the pancreas is unable to produce sufficient Insulin, in Type 2 Diabetes, cells resist the Insulin.

In MODY, a variation in the DNA inherited from parents prevents the pancreatic beta cells from sensing the sugar in the blood. Without the inability to sense it, the pancreas does not release the required Insulin. People with MODY have the same symptoms as in Type 1 Diabetes – high blood sugar levels, thirst, and excess urination – which is why it is advisable to opt for a genetic profile test.

How does a genetic profile test help?

Since, MODY is almost identical to type-1 diabetes, it is important to take a genetic profile test to identify if they have MODY or not. This is because unlike type 1 diabetes, MODY can treated with pills like sulfonylureas. [2] Sulfonylurea helps the pancreas in releasing insulin in the bloodstream.

When MODY has been diagnosed through a genetic profile test, patients can do away with daily injections which is a part of the insulin therapy. Additionally, alternative medications for MODY patients can help them with their expenses as well. In insulin therapy, the average monthly expense can extend up to Rs 8,000. In case of hospitalisation, it can cost anywhere between Rs 40,000 and Rs 1,5 lakh. [3] Sulfonylurea can help MODY patients to significantly reduce their monthly expenses.

In conclusion

If you have a family history of Diabetes or someone in your family has received a MODY diagnosis, a genetic profile test will be the best way to go.

As India’s first genomic medicine clinic, K&H is uniquely positioned to provide you with top-notch services. From health screening and genetic testing to healthcare consultation and personalised health plans, K&H takes care of every minute facet.


[1] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes#:~:text=Diabetes%20is%20a%20major%20cause,high%20blood%20glucose%20in%202012.

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4696982/

[3] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/prices-of-select-insulin-shoots-up-to-20-in-one-yr/articleshow/68416645.cms#:~:text=The%20cost%20of%20basal%20insulin,and%20hence%20a%20price%20increase.&text=Nearly%20a%20third%20of%20diabetics%20in%20India%20are%20prescribed%20basal%20insulin.


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