Diabetes Basics

Risk of Diabetes- Does Heredity Play A Role?

There are numerous factors that are responsible for diabetes in a person. Heredity can be one of them. People who have a family history of diabetes are more likely to suffer from the problem as compared to others. However, your genes alone cannot be the sole cause of diabetes. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can either be caused as a result of hereditary problems or due to certain factors in the external environment.

Type 2 diabetes and heredity
Though genes play an important role in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, their involvement is much stronger in case of type 2 diabetes. If your parents or grandparents or any other members in the family have suffered from type 2 diabetes, then you fall in the high risk category. However, it is environmental factors that actually determine whether this risk actually translates into the disease or not.

Various researches and studies have shown that people with an active lifestyle and eat healthy do not suffer from diabetes even if they fall in the high risk category. On the other hand, most Americans and Europeans who were on a risk of type 2 diabetes due to hereditary factors, actually suffered from diabetes. The reason for the same is that people living in western countries usually lead a sedentary lifestyle and have unhealthy eating habits. The bottom line is that heredity alone cannot be the cause of type 2 diabetes.

Since heredity plays a vital role in diabetes, chances are that you too can pass on the problem to your child, but remember these are just chances. If you were diagnosed with diabetes before 50 years of age, the chances of your child suffering from the safe is 1 in 7. The risk is reduced to 1 in 13 if you were diagnosed with the problem after the age of 50.

Type 1 diabetes and heredity
Type 1 diabetes as a result of hereditary factors occurs when both the parents have type 1 diabetes. Here too like type 2 diabetes, not all people who fall in the risk category actually suffer from the problem.

The risk of the parents passing on diabetes to their children is relatively lesser in case of type 1 diabetes. The chance of your child suffering from diabetes as a result of hereditary factors is 1 in 17. If you are a woman suffering from type 1 diabetes and your child was born before the age of 25, the risk of diabetes in your child is 1 in 25. However, if your child was born after 25 years of age, your child's risk is 1 in 100.

To sum up, heredity does play an important role in diabetes but it's not the only factor.