Is Diabetes Genetic? Facts About Hereditary Risk
Diabetes is a complex set of diseases with no single cause. Genetic factors make some people more vulnerable to diabetes, particularly with the right environment. In addition, certain lifestyle factors can cause type 2 diabetes in individuals with no known family history. This complex interaction between genes, lifestyle, and environment points to the importance of taking steps to minimize individual diabetes risk. Is type 1 diabetes hereditary? Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, which means that it causes the body's immune system to attack healthy cells. It is often called juvenile diabetes because most people are diagnosed in childhood, and the condition then lasts their lifetime. Doctors used to think type 1 diabetes was wholly genetic. Newer studies have shown, however, that children develop type 1 diabetes 3 percent of the time if their mother has the condition, 5 percent of the time if their father has it, or 8 percent if a sibling has type 1 diabetes. Consequently, researchers now believe that something in the environment has to trigger type 1 diabetes. Some risk factors include: Cold weather. People develop type 1 diabetes in winter more frequently than summer. It is also more common in places with cool climates. Viruses. Researchers think some viruses might activate type 1 diabetes in people who are otherwise vulnerable. Measles, mumps, coxsackie B virus, and rotavirus have been linked to type 1 diabetes. Research suggests that people who develop type 1 diabetes may have autoimmune antibodies in their blood for many years before showing symptoms. As a result, the disease may develop over time, or something may have to activate the autoimmune antibodies for symptoms to appear. Is type 2 diabetes hereditary? Type 2 diabetes is the more common form of the d Continue reading >>
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 >>
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 >>
About Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Most of the people with diabetes in the United States have type 2 diabetes, and it is on the rise, especially in younger people. More preteens, teens, and young adults are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than ever before. Causes Like type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is inherited. This means a group of genes that can lead to type 2 is passed down from mothers and fathers to their children. Not everyone who inherits the genes will develop it, but if you have the genes for type 2 diabetes, you've got a greater chance of developing it. Your chances are even higher if you're also overweight and don't get much exercise. Having a sweet tooth won't cause type 2 diabetes, but a diet high in simple sugars and other unhealthy foods can cause you to gain weight. Most people who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight. In addition to being overweight, there are some other factors that put a person at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes, including: Having a family history of diabetes. Being older than 40. Having gestational diabetes during a pregnancy. Giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds. Being African American, Hispanic American, Asian American, or Native American. Insulin Resistance and Impaired Fasting Glucose Insulin resistance is when cells have trouble using insulin. The cells resist insulin's message to open up, and don't work as fast to let the sugar in. When this happens, the pancreas works harder to make more insulin, which it releases into the blood to keep blood sugar levels normal. Insulin resistance can lead to a condition called impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose. This happens when the pancreas can't make enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels in a normal Continue reading >>
Diabetes Genetics: How Is Diabetes Inherited?
An estimated 2.5 to 3 million Americans have type 1 diabetes. My father was one of them. Diagnosed around age 10, he spent most of his life injecting insulin into his arms, stomach and legs. Eventually, his eye sight and heart could no longer function properly, and he passed away when I was in high school. Around this time, I was introduced to the subject of genetics. I thought back to all those check-ups at the Joslin clinic (now Joslin Diabetes Center) and realized that genetics was the reason everyone watched me and my sister so closely. Genetics was the reason my family was so scared when I starting gaining too much weight in middle school and freaked out every time my foot fell asleep or I was thirsty. Genetics. The loss of my father and timely introduction to genetics drove my decision to become a genetic counselor. Part of a genetic counselors job is to assess disease risk using what we know about family history, the genes and mutations involved, and sometimes, genetic and non-genetic testing results. We then use that information to help individuals and families make more informed decisions about their health. The Genetics of Diabetes Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are both considered to have multifactorial inheritance — meaning that many factors contribute to the development of these conditions. While the manner of inheritance may be the same for these two conditions, the genetic, lifestyle and environmental risk factors are different. A number of genes associated with immune system function have been linked to type 1 diabetes susceptibility. Many Caucasians with diabetes have specific genetic variations (called 3 and/or 4) in the HLA-DR gene. We also know that different variations, HLA-DR7 and HLA-DR9, play important roles in African-Americans and the Japanese, r Continue reading >>
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Type 2 Diabetes Causes
Type 2 diabetes has several causes: genetics and lifestyle are the most important ones. A combination of these factors can cause insulin resistance, when your body doesn’t use insulin as well as it should. Insulin resistance is the most common cause of type 2 diabetes. Genetics Play a Role in Type 2 Diabetes Type 2 diabetes can be hereditary. That doesn’t mean that if your mother or father has (or had) type 2 diabetes, you’re guaranteed to develop it; instead, it means that you have a greater chance of developing type 2. Researchers know that you can inherit a risk for type 2 diabetes, but it’s difficult to pinpoint which genes carry the risk. The medical community is hard at work trying to figure out the certain genetic mutations that lead to a risk of type 2. Lifestyle Is Very Important, Too Genes do play a role in type 2 diabetes, but lifestyle choices are also important. You can, for example, have a genetic mutation that may make you susceptible to type 2, but if you take good care of your body, you may not develop diabetes. Say that two people have the same genetic mutation. One of them eats well, watches their cholesterol, and stays physically fit, and the other is overweight (BMI greater than 25) and inactive. The person who is overweight and inactive is much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes because certain lifestyle choices greatly influence how well your body uses insulin. Lack of exercise: Physical activity has many benefits—one of them being that it can help you avoid type 2 diabetes, if you’re susceptible. Unhealthy meal planning choices: A meal plan filled with high-fat foods and lacking in fiber (which you can get from grains, vegetables, and fruits) increases the likelihood of type 2. Overweight/Obesity: Lack of exercise and unhealthy me Continue reading >>
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 >>
Is Type 2 Diabetes Caused By Genetics?
Diabetes is a complex condition. Several factors must come together for you to develop type 2 diabetes. For example, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle play a role. Genetics can also influence whether you’ll get this disease. If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, there’s a good chance that you’re not the first person with diabetes in your family. According to the American Diabetes Association, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is: 1 in 7 if one of your parents was diagnosed before the age of 50 1 in 13 if one of your parents was diagnosed after the age of 50 1 in 2, or 50 percent, if both your parents have diabetes Several gene mutations have been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes. These gene mutations can interact with the environment and each other to further increase your risk. Type 2 diabetes is caused by both genetic and environmental factors. Scientists have linked several gene mutations to a higher diabetes risk. Not everyone who carries a mutation will get diabetes. But many people with diabetes do have one or more of these mutations. It can be difficult to separate genetic risk from environmental risk. The latter is often influenced by your family members. For example, parents with healthy eating habits are likely to pass them on to the next generation. On the other hand, genetics plays a big part in determining weight. Sometimes behaviors can’t take all the blame. Studies of twins suggest that type 2 diabetes might be linked to genetics. These studies were complicated by the environmental influences that also affect type 2 diabetes risk. To date, numerous mutations have been shown to affect type 2 diabetes risk. The contribution of each gene is generally small. However, each additional mutation you have seems to increase your Continue reading >>
Genetics And Type 1 Diabetes
If you have type 1 diabetes, you might wonder if your child would get it, too. Or if one of your parents has it, what it means for you. Your genes definitely play a role in type 1, a less common form of diabetes that’s often diagnosed in children and young adults. But they’re not the whole story. Like much in life, it’s a mix of nature and nurture. Your environment, from where you grow up to the foods you eat, also matters. Researchers don’t know exactly how -- and how much -- all those things affect your chances of getting the disease. Your genes set the stage, but you can’t be certain how it'll all play out. There’s no diabetes gene that gets turned on or off to give you type 1. Instead, a bunch of them play a role, including a dozen or so that have the biggest say: the HLA genes. They make proteins your immune system uses to keep you healthy. Since type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease -- your body destroys the cells that make insulin -- it makes sense that HLA genes are front and center. There are thousands of versions of them in the human gene pool. Which ones you get from your parents affect your chances of diabetes in a big way. Some make you more likely to get it, while others can help protect you from it. You have type 1 if your body makes little or no insulin, a hormone that helps your body turn sugar into energy. Certain genes are more common in one group of people than in another. That’s why race and ethnicity affect things, too. For example, white people are more likely to have type 1 diabetes than others. But even if you have genes that make you more likely to get type 1, that doesn’t mean you definitely will. Even with identical twins -- who have the same exact genes -- sometimes one gets it and the other doesn’t. That’s where the e Continue reading >>
Genetics & Diabetes : What's Your Risk?
A school nurse anxiously wants to know if there is a reason why several children from her small grade school have been diagnosed with type 1 (juvenile onset) diabetes. Is it an epidemic? Will there be more cases? Is a recent chicken pox outbreak to blame? A man in his 50s develops type 2 diabetes. His mother developed diabetes in her 60s. Should this man's brother and sister be concerned, too? What about his children's chances of developing diabetes? A married couple wants to have children, but they are concerned because the husband has type 1 diabetes. They wonder what the risk is that their child would have diabetes. A couple has three young children. One of the children develops type 1 diabetes. There's no history of diabetes anywhere in either parent's families. Is this just a fluke? What are the chances the other children will develop diabetes? Chances are if you or a loved one have diabetes, you may wonder if you inherited it from a family member or you may be concerned that you will pass the disease on to your children. Researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center report that, while much has been learned about what genetic factors make one more susceptible to developing diabetes than another, many questions remain to be answered. While some people are more likely to get diabetes than others, and in some ways type 2 (adult onset diabetes) is simpler to track than type 1 (juvenile onset) diabetes, the pattern is not always clear. For more than 20 years researchers in the Epidemiology and Genetics Section at Joslin in Boston (Section Head Andrzej S. Krolewski, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Investigator James H. Warram, M.D., Sc.D., and colleagues) have been studying diabetes incidence and hereditary factors. They are continuing a scientific journey begun by Elliott P. Joslin, M.D., Continue reading >>
Diabetes And Family History: How Much Risk Is Genetic?
Whether you have Type I or Type II diabetes, there are several factors that could have contributed to the disease. Among these are your family’s lifestyle and your genetic history. By gaining a better understanding of these two issues, you may be able to control your diabetes with more ease, or possibly (in the case of Type II) avoid it altogether. At the very least, understanding the risks created by your genetic and family history will allow you to detect diabetes earlier and avoid the damage it can do if left untreated. How Family Affects Diabetes Risk Your family affects your diabetes risk in two different ways. First, of course, your parents contributed to your genetic heritage. But there’s also the way your parents, your siblings, and your extended family may have influenced the way you eat, exercise, and care for yourself, because these are habits you learn from the people around you as you grow up. Your genetic makeup can play a big role in both Type I and Type II diabetes, while the way a family cares for itself and the habits you’re taught in regard to diet and exercise are generally more related to Type II risk. To help prevent Type II diabetes if you don’t have the disease yet or if you’re prediabetic, there are four questions the NIDDK suggests you ask your family. These are: Does anyone in your family have Type II diabetes and if so, who are they? Has anyone in your family been told they may develop diabetes or are at risk for it? Has anyone in your family been told they need to get more exercise or lose weight in order to prevent diabetes? Did your mother have diabetes when she was pregnant, either with me or with a sibling? Type II diabetes can be greatly affected by the lifestyle a family lives. As you grow up and get older you learn a lot of Continue reading >>
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 >>
Diabetes In The Family: Is It Inherited?
Weve updated our Privacy Notice. Take a moment to review it here. Im asking this on behalf of a friend whose grandfather and father have diabetes. Is it more likely that my friend will get it too? Is diabetes... Im asking this on behalf of a friend whose grandfather and father have diabetes . Is it more likely that my friend will get it too? Is diabetes fatal? type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent diabetes), which occurs in young people and is the more severe form, requiring insulin injections type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent diabetes), which is milder and occurs in older people and is usually controlled with diet and tablets. The details of whether diabetes can be inherited, and how this occurs, are not clear. About 10 per cent of people getting the more severe Type 1 diabetes have a close relative with this type of diabetes. That is not the same as saying that 10 per cent of people with affected relatives will get diabetes, but there is an unpredictable association. Type 2 diabetes also has a tendency to occur in families, but this is also not very strong and not predictable. In your friends case, if grandfather and father are affected, they probably have the milder Type 2 form of diabetes, so your friend has little risk of developing diabetes at a young age. It may be there is an increased risk of him developing diabetes in later life, but it would be the milder Type 2 form. I am a little confused that you say, he takes pills and does a blood sugar tes t. If you are referring to your friend then this probably means he has the mild form of diabetes already, and is probably an older person. You ask if you can get very ill with diabetes and die. Diabetes is a serious condition, but these days if patients follow their diet and take their pills or insulin treatment re Continue reading >>
Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 Inheritance
Type 1 diabetes is an inherited condition and individuals with a first degree relative who has the condition are at an increased risk of developing the condition. Details regarding the risk of inheriting type 1 diabetes are given below: In men with type 1 diabetes, the risk of their child also developing the condition is one in 17. In women with type 1 diabetes who have their baby before the age of 25, the risk of the child developing the condition is one in 25. If she has her baby after the age of 25, the risk falls to 1 in 100. If both parents have type 1 diabetes, the risk of the condition developing in offspring varies between 1 in 4 and 1 in 10. The risks are somewhat increased if one of the parents developed type 1 diabetes before the age of 11. Around 1 in 7 people with type 1 diabetes suffer from a condition called type 2 polyglandular autoimmune syndrome and these individuals have parathyroid and adrenal gland disorders in addition to type 1 diabetes. If one of the parents has type 2 polyglandular autoimmune syndrome, the risk that the child will inherit the condition, including type 1 diabetes, is 50%. Genes associated with type 1 diabetes Some genes have repeatedly been identified in people with type 1 diabetes. Among white individuals, examples of such genes include the HLA-DR3 or HLA-DR4 genes. Carrying these genes raises the risk that offspring will inherit type 1 diabetes. Children born with the HLADR3/4-DQ8 genotype make up nearly 50% of all children who develop type 1 diabetes before they are 5 years of age. Some studies on other ethnic groups have shown that similar risks are associated with the HLA-DR7 genotype among African Americans and with the HLA-DR9 gene among Japanese individuals. Genetic studies have also located HLA class II genes at 6p21 and Continue reading >>
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Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a disorder characterized by abnormally high blood sugar levels. In this form of diabetes, the body stops using and making insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels. Specifically, insulin controls how much glucose (a type of sugar) is passed from the blood into cells, where it is used as an energy source. When blood sugar levels are high (such as after a meal), the pancreas releases insulin to move the excess glucose into cells, which reduces the amount of glucose in the blood. Most people who develop type 2 diabetes first have insulin resistance, a condition in which the body's cells use insulin less efficiently than normal. As insulin resistance develops, more and more insulin is needed to keep blood sugar levels in the normal range. To keep up with the increasing need, insulin-producing cells in the pancreas (called beta cells) make larger amounts of insulin. Over time, the beta cells become less able to respond to blood sugar changes, leading to an insulin shortage that prevents the body from reducing blood sugar levels effectively. Most people have some insulin resistance as they age, but inadequate exercise and excessive weight gain make it worse, greatly increasing the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can occur at any age, but it most commonly begins in middle age or later. Signs and symptoms develop slowly over years. They include frequent urination (polyuria), excessive thirst (polydipsia), fatigue, blurred vision, tingling or loss of feeling in the hands and feet (diabetic neuropathy), sores that do not heal well, and weight loss. If blood sugar levels are not controlled through medication or diet, type 2 diabetes can cause long-lasting (chronic) health prob Continue reading >>