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Can You Get Diabetes From Your Parents?

5 Signs You’ll Develop Diabetes

5 Signs You’ll Develop Diabetes

Source: Web exclusive, November 2011 1. You’re overweight and underactive Of all people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, over 85 percent of them are overweight. Abdominal obesity (fat around your middle) in particular is associated with a high risk of diabetes. Putting on weight raises your body’s resistance to insulin. And that causes high blood sugar. If you’re sedentary ‘ that is, you don’t get much physical activity in a typical day ‘ then your risk of developing diabetes is doubled. The World Health Organization estimates that up to 85 percent of us rarely get off our duffs. Just by adding activity to your lifestyle, you reduce two risk factors for diabetes. Not only will exercise lower your insulin resistance, but it will also help you shed weight. Research shows that losing even just a few pounds can prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes. 2. You eat all the foods your mom told you to avoid If you’re a big fan of high-fat, sugary foods and you enjoy them regularly, you’re making yourself a menu for diabetes. "People don’t necessarily think of their diet ‘ their comfort foods and their regular foods ‘ as putting them at risk," says Dr. Stewart Harris, a family physician who specializes in diabetes and is the Canadian Diabetes Association chair in diabetes management at the University of Western Ontario’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. But if you make a habit of eating fried foods, drinking pop, slathering on the salad dressing and having a second piece of cake, you’re increasing your odds of gaining weight, which in turn increases insulin resistance and puts you at greater risk of diabetes. You could also develop high cholesterol and high blood pressure, problems that are often found in people with diabetes and are associated with he Continue reading >>

Gestational Diabetes: What You Need To Know

Gestational Diabetes: What You Need To Know

This pregnancy complication is more common than you might think. Learn who's at risk for it, how it's detected, and what can be done to treat it. For years, doctors believed that gestational diabetes affected three to five percent of all pregnancies, but new, more rigorous diagnostic criteria puts the number closer to 18 percent. The condition, which can strike any pregnant woman, usually develops in the second trimester, between weeks 24 and 28, and typically resolves after baby is born. If gestational diabetes is treated and well-managed throughout your pregnancy, "There's no reason you can't deliver a very healthy baby," says Patricia Devine, M.D., perinatologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. But gestational diabetes that goes untreated, or isn't carefully monitored, can be harmful for both mother and baby. Consult our guide for risk factors, signs of gestational diabetes, and treatment options. What is gestational diabetes? Gestational diabetes, or diabetes that is diagnosed during pregnancy in a woman who previously did not have diabetes, occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar efficiently. "A hormone produced by the placenta makes a woman essentially resistant to her own insulin," Dr. Devine explains. How does gestational diabetes differ from type 1 or 2 diabetes? Gestational diabetes affects only pregnant women. People who have type 1 diabetes, sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes, are generally born with it. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 95 percent of all cases of diabetes in the U.S.; it occurs in adulthood, and is triggered by lifestyle factors such as obesity and lack of physical activity. What causes it? It's unclear why some women develop gestational diabetes while others do not. Doctors th Continue reading >>

Having A Parent With Type 2 Diabetes: What To Know About Your Risk

Having A Parent With Type 2 Diabetes: What To Know About Your Risk

Every year, Allison Jones, age 34, of Champaign, Illinois, gets her blood sugar checked. So far, she has breathed a sigh of relief when her numbers have come back normal each time. Still, she knows that type 2 diabetes is in her blood, or more precisely, her genes. She’s watched her father, diagnosed in his 40s, struggle with the disease, and three of her father’s four siblings also have it. “It’s definitely a worry in my mind,” Jones says. Genetics and Lifestyle Play a Role Jones’s concern is well founded. Research suggests that having a parent with type 2 diabetes increases your risk of developing the disease by as much as fourfold, and even more if both parents are affected. “We know that if both parents have type 2 diabetes, there’s about a 50 percent risk that you and your siblings could have the genes passed on,” says Edward Hess, MD, an endocrinologist who leads the diabetes program at Kaiser Permanente in Fontana, California. It’s clear that there’s a strong genetic component to type 2 diabetes, and that’s why we see greater prevalence in some ethnic groups, like Native Americans and African Americans. But it’s an incredibly complex disease. “There are literally dozens of genes and sites on the DNA that are associated with type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Hess says. It’s hard to tease out how much of our risk comes from genetics and how much comes from lifestyle factors, like eating and exercise patterns. “It's a combination of inheriting that really strong type of diabetes from your parents,” says Hess, “and you can inherit bad habits from your parents, too.” Understand Your Individual Risk Family history is just one of many risk factors for type 2 diabetes, so it’s worth talking with your doctor about your overall risk. If you ha Continue reading >>

How Can You Find Out If Your Other Children Will Get Type 1 Diabetes?

How Can You Find Out If Your Other Children Will Get Type 1 Diabetes?

Like many other parents with a Type 1 child, the fear that my other children will become diabetic haunts me. My husband and I have tested both of my other two sons with their brother’s blood glucose monitor when either have shown the remotest symptom of Type 1, like downing more than one glass of juice in a single sitting, or using the restroom one too many times during a long-distance road trip. My oldest son, who is Type 1, has been gleeful when we’ve tested his brothers. He’s been assigned to the task of doing the actual lancing, which he’s welcomed with great relish. To be sure, I’ve double checked the setting on the lancet to ensure that it’s not set at “5.” Thankfully, we’ve had only normal readings from this impromptu testing for them thus far, but to be sure, I’ve turned to the Internet and surfed around various sites as well as checked other printed resources looking to see what the likelihood is of my other two sons having diabetes. The reports are conflicting, ranging from one of 1 in 10 before reaching the age of 50%20to%20two%20to%20six%20percent%20(to two to six percent. The statistics are different if a child’s other immediate family members have Type 1; for example, a Type 1 father has a 1 in 17 chance to have a child that gets diabetes. These stats vary depending on which of the child’s relatives is Type 1. I’ve read recently about many of the amazing advances in diabetes research that have occurred, particularly for the very recently diagnosed. The more I read, the more I know that my sons would benefit from knowing if they’ve a predisposition for getting Type 1. This past summer, it was recommended to me that I look into the TrialNet studies and to get my sons in for testing. TrialNet is conducting two types of studies: one Continue reading >>

What Is The Risk A Child Will Develop Diabetes If A Parent Is Diabetic?

What Is The Risk A Child Will Develop Diabetes If A Parent Is Diabetic?

Question:What is the risk that a child will develop diabetes if one or both parents are diabetic? Answer: The key factor in figuring out the familial risk of diabetes is what we call first-degree relatives. The number of first degree relatives -- that is to say parents, siblings or children -- who have the disease. If you have one first-degree relative who has type 1 diabetes, you're risk is on the order of 10 to 15 times higher of getting that disease than if you don't. One the other hand, that 10 or 15 times increased risk still means that it's a low probability you'll actually get the disease. In other words, it might be 1 in 200 of getting type 1 diabetes if you're walking down the street, living in America. It might be 1 in 10 or 1 in 20 if you have a parent, or a sibling or a child who has the disease. But that still means it's unlikely because those other factors -- environment and behavior and bad luck -- play a big role. In type 2 diabetes, if you have a sibling or a parent who has the disease, you're risk is as high as 1 in 3. And if you have two siblings or two parents who have the disease, it's higher still. But even in type 2 diabetes, where the absolute risk is higher, there's still many non-genetic factors and our behavior can change the likelihood of getting the disease. Next: Can I Get Diabetes Even If No One In The Family Has It? Previous: Which Type Of Diabetes Is More Likely To Be Inherited And Why? Continue reading >>

Reducing Diabetes Risks For The Whole Family

Reducing Diabetes Risks For The Whole Family

Diabetes is a disease that affects more and more Americans every day: Almost 26 million children and adults in the United States now have diabetes, and another 79 million US residents are living with prediabetes, a condition in which blood tests show a blood glucose level that is higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with prediabetes have an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Blood relatives of people with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes also have a higher risk of developing the same type of diabetes as their family member. And people who have diabetes run the risk of developing long-term complications associated with diabetes. In some cases, being aware of having a heightened risk for diabetes enables a person to be proactive about reducing the risk. For example, people with prediabetes and blood relatives of people with Type 2 diabetes can reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by making lifestyle changes, such as increased physical activity, that burn calories, lower blood glucose levels, and encourage weight maintenance or weight loss. Close relatives of people with Type 1 diabetes can have their risk of developing the condition assessed through blood tests. While no one yet knows how to prevent Type 1 diabetes, people determined to be at high risk can be followed closely, so that if they develop diabetes, they can be diagnosed early and be started on treatment as early as possible. People who already have diabetes can lower their risk of developing long-term complications by taking steps to manage their blood glucose, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol levels. Diabetes and genetics The reasons that diabetes runs in families are complex, and they differ between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. In both cases, ho Continue reading >>

How To Help Your Parent Manage Diabetes

How To Help Your Parent Manage Diabetes

Diabetes is becoming an increasingly common diagnosis among older adults. If your parent has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, you may be wondering what you can do to help. Many adults manage diabetes without assistance, but as your parents age, other factors may come into play. Here are some ideas on how you can help your parent manage diabetes. Understanding Diabetes and Its Consequences Diabetes is quite prevalent, with 9.1% of the population having the disease. Over 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed each year. However, a large majority of diabetes cases are undiagnosed, which can lead to significant consequences. Diabetes is especially common amongst seniors. Approximately 25.8% of Americans age 65 and over have diabetes, although not all are diagnosed. Despite how common the disease is, diabetes is nothing to trifle with. It remains the 7th leading cause of death, and can cause a host of complications. Some of the typical medical conditions that accompany diabetes are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney disease, and eye problems. Diabetes is also associated with an increased risk for heart attacks and strokes, as well as causing issues that may require limbs to be amputated. About 60% of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations among people aged 20 years or older occur in people with diagnosed diabetes. Managing Diabetes Typically, diabetes is managed in multiple ways and you should always consult your parent’s doctor or care provider prior to making drastic changes in diet and routine. Here are some of the more common methods of managing diabetes: Lowering Carbohydrates. Diabetes patients can help manage their blood sugar levels by consuming a diet low in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates have the biggest impact of any food on blood sugar levels, and you Continue reading >>

Genetics Of Diabetes

Genetics Of Diabetes

You've probably wondered how you got diabetes. You may worry that your children will get it too. Unlike some traits, diabetes does not seem to be inherited in a simple pattern. Yet clearly, some people are born more likely to get diabetes than others. What leads to diabetes? Type 1 and type 2 diabetes have different causes. Yet two factors are important in both. First, you must inherit a predisposition to the disease. Second, something in your environment must trigger diabetes. Genes alone are not enough. One proof of this is identical twins. Identical twins have identical genes. Yet when one twin has type 1 diabetes, the other gets the disease at most only half the time. When one twin has type 2 diabetes, the other's risk is at most 3 in 4. Type 1 diabetes In most cases of type 1 diabetes, people need to inherit risk factors from both parents. We think these factors must be more common in whites because whites have the highest rate of type 1 diabetes. Because most people who are at risk do not get diabetes, researchers want to find out what the environmental triggers are. One trigger might be related to cold weather. Type 1 diabetes develops more often in winter than summer and is more common in places with cold climates. Another trigger might be viruses. Perhaps a virus that has only mild effects on most people triggers type 1 diabetes in others. Early diet may also play a role. Type 1 diabetes is less common in people who were breastfed and in those who first ate solid foods at later ages. In many people, the development of type 1 diabetes seems to take many years. In experiments that followed relatives of people with type 1 diabetes, researchers found that most of those who later got diabetes had certain autoantibodies in their blood for years before. (Antibodies ar Continue reading >>

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a disorder characterized by abnormally high blood sugar levels. In this form of diabetes, specialized cells in the pancreas called beta cells stop producing insulin. Insulin controls how much glucose (a type of sugar) is passed from the blood into cells for conversion to energy. Lack of insulin results in the inability to use glucose for energy or to control the amount of sugar in the blood. Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age; however, it usually develops by early adulthood, most often starting in adolescence. The first signs and symptoms of the disorder are caused by high blood sugar and may include frequent urination (polyuria), excessive thirst (polydipsia), fatigue, blurred vision, tingling or loss of feeling in the hands and feet, and weight loss. These symptoms may recur during the course of the disorder if blood sugar is not well controlled by insulin replacement therapy. Improper control can also cause blood sugar levels to become too low (hypoglycemia). This may occur when the body's needs change, such as during exercise or if eating is delayed. Hypoglycemia can cause headache, dizziness, hunger, shaking, sweating, weakness, and agitation. Uncontrolled type 1 diabetes can lead to a life-threatening complication called diabetic ketoacidosis. Without insulin, cells cannot take in glucose. A lack of glucose in cells prompts the liver to try to compensate by releasing more glucose into the blood, and blood sugar can become extremely high. The cells, unable to use the glucose in the blood for energy, respond by using fats instead. Breaking down fats to obtain energy produces waste products called ketones, which can build up to toxic levels in people with type 1 diabetes, resulting in diabetic ketoacidosis. Affected individuals may begin breathin Continue reading >>

What Causes Type 2 — Genes Or Food?

What Causes Type 2 — Genes Or Food?

There’s a major split in the Type 2 diabetes world. Some believe Type 2 is all about diet (and maybe exercise.) Others say it’s mostly a genetic illness and that diet doesn’t make much difference. Who’s right? This disagreement came to the forefront in the controversy over TV chef Paula Deen. When Deen told the world she had Type 2 diabetes, some people blamed the high-sugar and high-fat food she cooks on her shows. (One signature dish is deep-fried cheesecake.) But Deen denied her diet had much to do with it. She pointed out that many people eat like her and don’t get diabetes. She said her genes were at fault, even though no one else in her family has diabetes. Bloggers jumped in; some to attack Deen, some to defend her. On Diabetes Self-Management, Jan Chait wrote, “Psst! Food does NOT give you diabetes!” Some doctors agreed. Dr. Terry Simpson wrote, “It is more a matter of genetics than anything else. For those who are unlucky enough to have the genetic code that predisposes them to diabetes, the odds are they will become its victim… Even the most “in shape” individual, who eats “right” who has the genetics for diabetes can no more avoid that than you can avoid a car accident if someone misses a stop sign because they are texting.” I beg to differ. Blaming genes without referencing diet makes no sense at all. There has been an increase in diabetes worldwide of 100% to 400% (depending on location) in the last 20 years. Genes don’t change that fast. The environment has changed. People are more sedentary and more stressed now. But the number one change has been the mass consumption of sugars and refined carbs. Dr. Robert Lustig at University of California San Francisco blames sugars for most of the diabetes increase. Our bodies just weren Continue reading >>

Are You Destined To Get Your Parents' Illnesses?

Are You Destined To Get Your Parents' Illnesses?

Have you been told you've got your father's eye color or your mother's curly hair? These physical traits are a product of genes you inherited from your parents. If your mom has heart disease and your dad has colon cancer, you might also have inherited a greater chance of getting these diseases. But don't worry, it's not a sure thing. With conditions like cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and heart disease, your genes aren't always destiny. You can likely overcome your heredity and stay disease-free by making smarter health decisions. Genes lead to disease in different ways. "With some diseases, it's almost certain that if you inherit that gene you'll inherit the disease. But for other diseases it's a matter of increased risk," says Soren Snitker, MD, PhD. He's an associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Some conditions, like Huntington's disease, are caused by a change to a single gene. If you have a parent with this disease, then you've got a 50-50 chance of getting it yourself. Many other diseases, like type 2 diabetes or cancer, are caused by a combination of gene changes and lifestyle habits. "A person can trump a lot of the inherited risk with very healthy behaviors," says Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM. He is chair of the department of preventive medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. A good example of lifestyle trumping genes comes from a study of Amish people done by Snitker and other researchers. They looked at a gene called FTO, which contributes to obesity. Amish people with the gene who exercised didn't put on weight. They were able to overcome their gene by staying active. Not only can you override your genes by taking good care of yourself, you could even change how they function. A growing f Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Genetics

Diabetes And Genetics

Tweet Genetics play a strong role in the chances of developing both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Other factors include environment and lifestyle. Diabetes is an increasingly common chronic condition affecting millions of people in the UK alone. Diabetes and genetic risk The risk of developing diabetes is affected by whether your parents or siblings have diabetes. The likelihood of developing type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes differ, as you can see below. Type 1 diabetes and genetics - average risks Mother with diabetes increases risk of diabetes by 2% Father with diabetes increases risk of diabetes by 8% Both parents with diabetes increases risk by 30% Brother or sister with diabetes increases risk by 10% Non-identical twin with diabetes increases risk by 15% Identical twin with diabetes increases risk by 40% Type 2 diabetes and genetics - average risks If either mother of father has diabetes increases risk of diabetes by 15% If both mother and father have diabetes increases risk by 75% If non-identical twin has diabetes increases risk by 10% If identical twin has diabetes increases risk by 90% Some other forms of diabetes may be directly inherited, including maturity onset diabetes in the young (MODY) and diabetes due to mitochondrial DNA mutation. However, neither type 1 or type 2 diabetes may be entirely genetically determined. Experts believe that environmental factors act as either ‘initators’ or ‘accelerators.’ Several genes are known as susceptibility genes, meaning that if an individual is carrying this gene they face greater risk of developing diabetes. Similarly, other genes provide greater immune tolerance for non-diabetics. My family have type 2 diabetes, will I get it? Type 2 diabetes is, in part, inherited. First degree relatives of individuals wit Continue reading >>

Is Diabetes Genetic?

Is Diabetes Genetic?

Diabetes is a complex disease. Several factors must come together for a person to develop Type 2 Diabetes. While genetics may influence whether you’ll get this disease or not, other factors like environmental risk factors and a sedentary lifestyle also play a huge role. So, is type 2 diabetes genetic? And if not, which type of diabetes is genetic? Those are the questions we are faced with today. And unfortunately, the answer is not that simple. Yes, genetics can play a role in increasing the risk for both Diabetes Type 1 as well as Diabetes Type 2, but genes alone will not determine whether you will develop diabetes or not. Will You Get Diabetes If It Runs In Your Family? If you’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes, chances are that you’re not the first person in your family who has diabetes. The details of whether diabetes can be inherited, and how this occurs, are not clear yet. About 10% of patients diagnosed with insulin-dependent Type 1 diabetes have a first degree relative with this type of diabetes. By first degree relative, we mean father, mother, sibling, twin and child. However, when it comes to the more common type of diabetes, which is Diabetes Type 2, it has a tendency to occur in families, but this is also not very strong and not predictable. A Swedish study on Metabolic Consequences of a Family History of Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus concluded that abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, and decreased resting metabolic rate are characteristic features of first-degree relatives of patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (in other words, Diabetes Type 2). And that the decrease in resting metabolic rate is partially related to the degree of abdominal obesity. Many doctors with clinical practice treating diabetes believe that thi Continue reading >>

Will My Children Inherit Diabetes From Me?

Will My Children Inherit Diabetes From Me?

If you come from one of those families with an intergenerational family history of diabetes (mom and pop, sibs, grandparents, uncles, cousins)--the odds are pretty good that your kids will inherit the family tradition. But fear is the only thing you need to be afraid of. Working with a great many Hispanic families with intergenerational diabetes, I’ve found that families develop a sense of fatalism about the disease that gets in the way of early treatment. This is why I’m always harping on the fact that diabetes isn’t really the problem at all. It’s the high blood sugar from diabetes that’s the problem. It may seem like a small difference, but it is not. High sugars are the kindling that start the fires of diabetes complications. All that scary stuff (kidney failure, blindness, amputations, death) that happened to grandpa were blood sugar driven, not diabetes driven. If you take your diabetes by the reins and control it, you don’t need to share in your family’s fate. So I want you to shift your mental focus. I don’t want you to worry about whether or not your children will inherit your diabetes; I want you to assume they will. Then I want you to set a good example for them by being open about your diabetes and striving hard to control it. Show them the way to health by your own actions. Eat smart. Move smart. Test often. Talk about your numbers. Take your meds. And for your adult, or overweight teenage children; get them tested every year. Diabetes is unique and beautiful in that the keys to treating it are largely in your hands. I can think of no other disease where our own behavior can do so much to help or hurt us. So don’t fear for your children. Equip them with the tools to live in healthy harmony with their diabetes. No diabetes in the family: 11 Continue reading >>

Ask The Diabetes Team

Ask The Diabetes Team

Question: From Thomasville, North Carolina, USA: I do not have diabetes but my boyfriend does. Other people in my family and in his have diabetes. He has type 1 diabetes, diagnosed when he was 12. He is 18 and will turn 19 in October 2011. My question is, because he's type 1 diabetic and I am not, when we have children, will our children have diabetes when they are born? Are there tests that doctors can do to test unborn babies for diabetes? Also, are there medications that doctors can administer during pregnancy to prevent the baby from getting diabetes? When my boyfriend's mother was pregnant, her doctors were treating her with some kind of medication to keep the baby from getting diabetes and she lost the baby. We don't feel comfortable asking her about the drugs they were giving her or why she thought she lost the baby. Answer: It is extremely rare for a baby to have diabetes "when they are born." While this can occur, it is not at all common. Might a child the two of you have develop diabetes mellitus later in life? Yes, they might. Type 2 diabetes is the more common type of diabetes that is more often associated with lifestyles of poor eating habits, inactivity, and obesity. Type 2 diabetes more often occurs in adults but, unfortunately, because of the epidemic of childhood obesity, we are seeing this more in children and teens and young adults, too. Type 2 diabetes can run in families but is, by-and-large, avoidable with good attention to staying trim, active, eating a balanced diet, etc. Type 2 diabetes may not necessarily require insulin injections. Type 1 diabetes, the type your boyfriend is said to have, can also be inherited. But, type 1 diabetes requires insulin injections in order to stay alive! Type 1 diabetes is associated with some specific configuratio Continue reading >>

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