Is Diabetes Genetic?: An Overview and Best Practices for Caring for Yourself
Skip main navigation
Serving Greater Chicagoland and surrounding areas.
Type Size
Serving Greater Chicagoland and surrounding areas.
Past main navigation Contact Us

Is Diabetes Genetic?: An Overview and Best Practices for Caring for Yourself

Millions of individuals in the US alone are affected by the chronic disease diabetes. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes risks are significantly influenced by genetics. You are far more likely to get it yourself if one of your parents or siblings does. Diabetes, however, is not solely a genetic disease. It's not a given that you will contract the illness just because a family member did.

Overview: What Exactly Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a long-term (chronic) illness that affects how the body converts food into energy.

When you have it, your body either can't use insulin properly or doesn't produce enough of it. Excessive blood sugar remains in your bloodstream when there is insufficient insulin or when cells cease reacting to insulin.

It comes in three basic varieties: gestational diabetes, type 1, and type 2. However, in this lecture, we'll concentrate on types 1 and 2.

Diabetes Types 1 and 2, and Genetic Risk

Whether or not your parents have the disease affects your likelihood of having it. As you'll see below, type 1 has a higher genetic risk than type 2.

Genes and Type 1 Diabetes: Average Risks

  • The risk is 2% higher in mothers who have the disease.
  • Having a diabetic father increases risk by 8%.
  • Diabetes in both parents increases the risk by 30%.

Genes and Type 2 Diabetes: Average Risks

  • If either parent has diabetes, the risk of developing it rises by 15%.
  • Having diabetes in both parents raises the risk by 75%.

How to Take Care of Yourself to Reduce Your Risk

There is not much you can do to lower your chance of having type 1 if you have a family history of the disease. There are strategies to lower your risk of getting type 2, though, if the condition runs in your family.

1. Keep a Healthy Weight or Reduce It

Losing weight will lower your risk if you are overweight, especially in the abdomen. Even a small weight loss can lower your risk.

2. Stay Active

Exercise not only helps you maintain a healthy weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, but it also supports the movement of glucose from the blood into the cells. Avoid sitting for extended periods of time, and try to exercise for a minimum of 150 minutes every week.

3. Eat Healthily

Maintain the risk factors under control by observing a Mediterranean diet. Increase your intake of vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, nuts, and whole grains while minimizing your intake of processed and prepackaged foods.

4. Drink Less Alcohol

Alcohol use might aggravate the circumstances that lead to diabetes. Because alcohol primarily consists of empty calories, it can raise your chances of gaining weight. For instance, a pint of beer can be compared to a chocolate bar. Excessive alcohol consumption can most definitely increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

5. Frequent Examinations and Health Maintenance

Since type 2 frequently develops over a long period of time, people may have insulin resistance or prediabetes for several years before they are even aware of it. You might be able to delay or prevent it if you identify this issue early.

Final Word

There you have it! If your parent has been diagnosed with diabetes, it may be important to go for screening because you could be genetically predisposed.

Do you reside in Chicago, Des Plaines, or Lake Forest and require aid in caring for your elderly relatives? Senior Helpers Des Plaines, a leading in-home elder care organization, offers everything from specialized care for seniors with chronic conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, to companion services for your loved ones who may require assistance with everyday tasks. Contact Senior Helpers Des Plaines today to learn more about our in-home care services.