My Father Has Diabetes Should I Be Screened For Prediabetes On A Regular Basis?
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Diabetes is a complex condition. Several factors must come together for you to develop type 2 diabetes. For example, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle play a role. Genetics can also influence whether you’ll get this disease.
There really needs to be more research in the field of prediabetes, but there seems to be a link. Especially given the fact that many with prediabetes develop Type 2 within 10 years. This article is based on genetic links with Type 2 simply because the research isn’t extensive on prediabetes. But I honestly feel the comparisons are closely related and can be extrapolated.
If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, there’s a good chance that you’re not the first person with diabetes in your family. According to the American Diabetes Association, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is:
1 in 7 if one of your parents was diagnosed before the age of 50
1 in 13 if one of your parents was diagnosed after the age of 50
1 in 2, or 50 percent, if both your parents have diabetes
Several gene mutations have been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes. These gene mutations can interact with the environment and each other to further increase your risk.
GENETICS VS. ENVIRONMENT
The role of genetics in type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is caused by both genetic and environmental factors.
Scientists have linked several gene mutations to a higher diabetes risk. Not everyone who carries a mutation will get diabetes.
But many people with diabetes do have one or more of these mutations.
It can be difficult to separate genetic risk from environmental risk.
The latter is often influenced by your family members.
For example, parents with healthy eating habits are likely to pass them on to the next generation.
On the other hand, genetics plays a big part in determining weight. Sometimes behaviors can’t take all the blame.
Identifying the genes responsible for type 2 diabetes
Studies of twins suggest that type 2 diabetes might be linked to genetics.
These studies were complicated by the environmental influences that also affect type 2 diabetes risk.
To date, numerous mutations have been shown to affect type 2 diabetes risk.
The contribution of each gene is generally small. However, each additional mutation you have seems to increase your risk.
In general, mutations in any gene involved in controlling glucose levels can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
These include genes that control:
production of glucose
production and regulation of insulin
how glucose levels are sensed in the body
Genes associated with type 2 diabetes risk include:
TCF7L2, which affects insulin secretion and glucose production
ABCC8, which helps regulate insulin
CAPN10, which is associated with type 2 diabetes risk in Mexican-Americans
GLUT2, which helps move glucose into the pancreas
GCGR, a glucagon hormone involved in glucose regulation
Genetic testing for type 2 diabetes
Tests are available for some of the gene mutations associated
with type 2 diabetes.
The increased risk for any given mutation is small, however. Other factors are far more accurate predictors of whether you’ll develop type 2 diabetes, including:
body mass index
high blood pressure
high triglyceride and cholesterol levels
history of gestational diabetes
being of certain ethnicity, such as Hispanic, African-American, or Asian-American
Tips for prevention
The interactions between genetics and the environment make it difficult to identify a definite cause of type 2 diabetes. That doesn’t mean you can’t reduce your risk through changing your habits.
The Diabetes Prevention Program, a large study of people at high risk for diabetes, suggests that weight loss and increased physical activity can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Blood glucose levels returned to normal levels in some cases. Other international studies have reported similar results.
Here are some things you can start doing today to reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes:
Start an exercise program
Slowly add physical activity into your daily routine. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park further away from building entrances. You can also try going for a walk during lunch.
Once you’re ready, you can start adding light weight-training and other cardiovascular activities to your routine. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise each day. If you need ideas for how to get started, check out this list of 14 cardio exercises to get you moving.