A question I often get asked by my clients… is there a link between diabetes risk and inherited genetics?
No one knows exactly what causes diabetes since it is such a complicated disease. To make matters worse, there is more than one type, each one with a different set of risk factors.
The two most common are Type 1 and Type 2, which affects about 97% of the population of the U.S. It is thought that they are caused by environmental risk factors and genetic factors as well.
Approximately 90% of all diabetics have Type 2 diabetes.
Being overweight is thought to have a large influence on having Type 2 diabetes. Obesity itself is a mix of heredity and choice of lifestyle.
Although diet and exercise are in all actuality choices of lifestyle, the fact remains that some people lose and gain weight quite easily and others do not.
However, other things influence this too.
Another factor when determining diabetes risk factors is if during pregnancy there was a history of diabetes.
Almost 40% of expectant mothers develop gestational diabetes and are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.
This shows up anywhere between 5 and 10 years after their babies are born. The larger the baby is when it is born, the greater the risk of developing diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is not caused by not producing enough insulin (such as is the case with Type 1) but from the body not using enough of it.
Glucose intolerance which is also thought to be hereditary, is a mystery to most since this is the very thing that the body uses for energy.
However, no one knows what causes hereditary factors to cause the kinds of problems they do.
Your ethnic background is a deciding factor when it comes to developing Type 2 diabetes, although scientists do not know exactly why unless environmental risk factors contribute.
Aboriginals, Africans, Latin Americans, and certain Asians are still at a high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes even though they have improved their lifestyle.
Researchers in Canada have shown that they develop this problem at a rate of one and a half to two times that of Caucasians.
On the other hand, Type 1 diabetes has a higher incidence rate in Caucasians.
Another one of the diabetes risk factors is high blood pressure.
Of course part of the problem with this is your choice of lifestyle ( including but not limited to; the foods you eat and exercise). The link between high blood pressure and developing diabetes is quite strong.
Another problem that increases the risk of developing diabetes is high cholesterol. When checking out this theory it was found that over 40% of people with diabetes have higher than the allowance of cholesterol that is considered the norm.
The largest hereditary factor most likely is influenced by the basic family health.
If your mother or a brother has Type 1 diabetes, the risk is increased by 10 to 20 times the typical genetic risk factors.
An infant, whose mother or father have Type 1 diabetes has a 1 in 25 chance of developing diabetes. There is about a 4% chance if the mother has a child before she is 25.
After that the risk is 1% or about the average as the rest of the world. If either of the parents had diabetes before they were 11 years of age, the risk jumps to 10%.
Ongoing research is still being conducted on the genetic risk of developing diabetes.
The hope is alive that there will be a way to prevent the high risk that is thought to be the result of hereditary conditions.
As modern technology advances far beyond the past when people just had to deal with their condition, the lowering or eliminating these odds increases.
Are Your Lifestyle and Environmental Risk Factors for Diabetes To Blame?
The good thing is that if you have a chance of developing diabetes, you can change your lifestyle which will lessen the chance.
Even if you should develop diabetes, controlling the factors that surround it, are the key to managing it.
Being overweight is one of the top risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. While heredity is one influence – weight is more easily gained and lost by some than others – it is also influenced by the choices you make. If you maintain the practice of a healthy diet and exercise regularly you can adjust your BMI (Body Mass Index).
If your Body Mass Index is higher than 27, the diabetes risk factors increase, especially for Type 2.
This should not be relied on as the only thing determining whether the risk is higher or not, because these factors are not to be used for people who are expecting or workout constantly.
However it is a good sign that you may be overweight and should be monitored.
Besides being obese, the location of where the largest part of your extra body weight is determines some of the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.
If the majority of your body fat is located around your waist this means you are at a higher risk to develop diabetes.
That is a genetic risk factor but while some people have a pear-shaped body, it can be changed by watching your food intake and getting plenty of exercise.
Products that are supposed to get rid of the excess fat around your waist are not proven methods as of yet.
Another myth that is not proven is the ability to target certain areas with exercise to remove excess fat.
Sitting in front of the television and not exercising are odds increasers for developing Type 2 diabetes.
This is the result of making the wrong choices for your health. The worst of all is the lack of an exercise regimen that causes you to have a higher BMI, in addition to other factors.
To burn calories you have to exercise. However the time outs for resting burn almost 70 calories an hour to keep up with the body’s metabolism.
The positive effects of a adhered to plan of exercise will carry oxygen to tissues, keep muscles from getting stiff, and stimulate the lymph glands as well as other beneficial ways of keeping fit.
By exercising you are helping to control blood pressure, one of the diabetes risk factors.
Excess glucose in the blood is one of the symptoms of diabetes, thus they are a major player in the disease.
Another risk factor is high cholesterol.
Healthy choices are the key to keeping the risk factors low, but remember, anyone can get diabetes!