This post comes from Sam Peters.
Are There Genetic Risks For Developing Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to produce or successfully utilize insulin. The most well-known risks associated with the development of diabetes involve poor eating habits, lack of exercise, and being overweight. However, this is not the case for type 1 diabetes, nor are these the only significant factors for developing type 2 diabetes.
Genetic factors have been linked to the onset of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Researchers are working hard to understand more about the link between family history and the development of diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes And Associated Genetic Factors
Type 1 diabetes is described as an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks the beta cells in the pancreas. As a result, the pancreas is unable to produce insulin.
Three genes have been linked to type 1 diabetes: HLA-DQA1, HLA-DQB1, and HLA-DRB1. A specific combination of these genes will result in a high risk for developing the condition. Although these genes have been tagged, the specific inheritance pattern has not yet been identified.
The likelihood of an individual developing type 1 diabetes if the father is diagnosed is about 1 in 10. If the mother is diagnosed, the risk falls to 1 in 25 or 1 in 100, depending on the age of the mother at the time of birth.
Type 2 Diabetes and Associated Genetic Factors
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to absorb glucose and transfer it to the body’s cells for energy. To counteract this deficiency, the pancreas produces more insulin. Over time, the pancreas is unable to produce insulin when blood glucose levels rise and a deficiency develops.
Five genes have been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes: TCF7L2, ABCC8, GLUT2, GCGR, and calpain 10. Each of these genes plays a role either in production and absorption of glucose or production and regulation of insulin.
If an individual has one parent who is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the likelihood the individual will develop the condition is around 15 – 20%. If an individual is born to two parents who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the likelihood they will develop diabetes is about 50%.
Environmental Factors And Type 2 Diabetes
Environmental factors have a significant impact on the probability that an individual will develop type 2 diabetes. Research has shown that individuals who have a spouse with a diagnosis of diabetes have a higher risk of developing the condition. The development of type 2 diabetes, while having a significant hereditary link, is severely influenced by environmental and lifestyle factors. These components may be even greater indicators as to whether or not an individual is at risk of developing the condition.
Managing A Diabetes Diagnosis
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes will require a management plan that your healthcare provider will work with you to create. A diabetes management plan may include daily routines such as a healthy diet, exercise, and controlling your blood glucose levels through the use of insulin administration. In the past, the only method of administering insulin was through injections using needles. Now, individuals can opt for insulin pumps with simple-to-use touchscreens as an alternative to multiple daily injections.
If your family has a history of diabetes, speak with your physician about your particular risk of developing diabetes. By working with your healthcare provider to follow a healthy lifestyle, you may be able to delay or even prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, or create a management plan for type 1 diabetes.