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 Continue reading