Diabetes Basics

What Causes Diabetes: Genes or Environment?

The question whether diabetes is caused by genes or the environment in which an individual is brought up in will perhaps be never answered in black and white. The fact is that diabetes is a result of the interaction of the environment with the genetic makeup of an individual.

A study carried out by the University of Wisconsin proves the point. The Pima Indians are a group of people who live in Arizona are related in terms of DNA to the Pima Indians in Mexico. The study shows that the Pima Indians living in the Sierra Mande mountain range of Mexico have a much lesser chance of developing diabetes than the people of the same group living in Arizona.

Both the populations have a similar rate of obesity. However, the incidence of diabetes in the population of Indians living in Arizona is much higher than the same population that is residing in Mexico. It is as high as 385 in the US as compared to 9 % in Mexico. The Pima Indians living in Mexico are far more active than the Indians living in the US and had a far more nutritious and balanced diet.

This study conclusive proves that people should exercise and eat fewer simple starches and sugars in order to keep away from diabetes. This is especially true if there is genetic propensity to acquire type 2 diabetes, but also holds good for other sections of the population that are not genetically inclined to develop Type 2 diabetes.

In an unrelated development, Dr Peter Baginsky of Santa Rosa California has shown that the Hemoglobin A1C (HBA1c) test is a test that is very effective not only in diagnosing diabetes, but also in determining whether pre-diabetes exists.

He has demonstrated that a test result of 5.8 in the HBA1C test demonstrates a 92 percent chance of being diabetic. This test is more convenient and easier than the fasting glucose test, as no fasting is required and just one sample of blood is sufficient for the test. The fasting glucose test on the other hand requires six samples of blood.