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Overview Overview Is diabetes genetic?

Is diabetes genetic?

4/28/2022    |    0 min read

What causes diabetes?

1. Family history

Diabetes is a complicated medical condition with multiple causes. The number one cause is having a family history of diabetes. While you can complain about your age, you can’t change it. Adults over the age of 45, African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, or Alaska Natives also have a higher risk for diabetes.

2. Western-style diet

The healthy dinner you whip up, how often you get out and play and how restful you sleep also play a role in the development of diabetes. Carrying extra pounds raises risk for diabetes due to insulin resistance, which will be discussed below.

A “Western-style” diet containing more red and processed meats, refined grains and sugar, and less high fiber fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may also raise the risk for diabetes.This pattern of eating leads to weight gain and other chronic health issues.

3. Lack of exercise

A 60-minute game of tennis or bike ride with friends not only aids in “waist management” but also helps lower blood sugar. The US Dietary Guidelines advise a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week.

4. Poor sleep

Observational studies indicate that poor sleep, insomnia, shift work, and sleep apnea are linked with a higher risk of diabetes. Poor sleep affects hormone levels, cravings for carbohydrates, and weight gain.

5. Environmental factors

Finally, exposure to environmental toxins, chemicals, or viruses may raise the risk of developing diabetes. These may alter the immune system and pancreatic function, which could affect insulin production and secretion.

Is type 2 diabetes genetic?

As mentioned above, your family’s genes do play a part in diabetes. Insulin resistance is the main concern in type 2 diabetes. This occurs when your body makes enough insulin but doesn’t use it effectively, leaving blood sugar levels high.Think of it like having money in your bank account but your ATM card doesn’t work.

Is type 1 diabetes genetic?

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the insulin producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed, resulting in insufficient insulin secretion. While a genetic history of type 1 diabetes predisposes someone to getting it, a person can develop type 1 diabetes without having a family history.

Lifestyle habits do not impact the development of type 1 diabetes, though a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and good sleep impact blood sugar management, and help prevent complications of diabetes.

How do you calculate your diabetes risk?

You can get a genetic test to evaluate your risk of getting diabetes, but it may be expensive. Aging is inevitable. Knowing your family history, moving your body, and eating a nutritious diet will aid in preventing diabetes. You can check your risk for diabetes risk by taking the ADA’s diabetes risk test but most importantly by checking your A1c, which is the 3-month average of your blood sugar levels. An A1c level 5.7-6.4% indicates prediabetes and that it’s time to take action to prevent diabetes. 9amHealth offers regular A1c tests and other lab tests as part of your membership, but you can also conveniently check it with our at-home A1c test kit.

5 Tips to prevent type 2 diabetes

While age, race, and genetic history can’t be changed, lifestyle habits put you in charge.

  1. Be active. Join a friend for a brisk walk or game of pickle ball! Aerobic exercise and strength training improve insulin sensitivity,
  2. Add more nutrients to your food. Include nutritious whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins daily.
  3. Reduce sugar. Put the brakes on sugary drinks and desserts. Enjoy them now and then, but not daily.
  4. Get more sleep. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
  5. Maintain a healthy body weight. This gives insulin a fighting chance to work well.

While diabetes may be genetic, it doesn’t have to be inevitable. Nutritious food, regular movement and a good night’s sleep help prevent diabetes. 9amHealth offers great solutions to manage blood sugar through medication, nutrition counseling, exercise, and blood sugar monitoring. Get started today!

About the authors

Lisa Andrews is a Cincinnati dietitian who loves food, health, and people. Her career started at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center as a clinical dietitian and has gradually moved from illness to wellness. Lisa is the author of several cookbooks.

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