Is Type 2 Diabetes a Genetic Disorder?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Feb 09, 2012

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Is Type 2 Diabetes a Genetic DisorderType 2 diabetes mellitus or Non−insulin−dependent diabetes (NIDDM) is a common disorder characterised by high blood glucose levels, which, if untreated, can cause serious medical complications such as cardiovascular diseases, heart attack, reduced life expectancy, loss of limbs and stroke.  Worldwide, this diabetes affects more than 135 million people. Genetic factors of an individual play an important role in the development of diabetes. Some types of diabetes are caused by mutations in a single gene and others are multi-factorial in origin. Regrettably, the number of genes involved, their chromosomal location and the degree of their effect on a diabetic are unknown.

Type 2 diabetes is not a genetic disease scientifically, but has a stronger link to family history than type 1 diabetes.  Development of NIDDM depends on obesity and various environmental factors. Obesity tends to run in families and, usually, all family members have similar eating habits, exercise habits and lifestyle. If you have a family history of type 2 diabetes, you may find difficulty in figuring out whether your diabetes is due to lifestyle factors, genetic factors or both.  Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by lifestyle changes though  some people have a strong genetic link.

Occurrence of type 2 diabetes in a person can have some link to his/her family history, but not a very strong one. If you were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes before the age of 50, the risk of your child getting diabetes is 1 in 7. If you were diagnosed after 50, risk in your children becomes 1 in 13. If the parents have type 2 diabetes, the risk of the child getting it becomes 50%.General population has only 5% risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In case of identical twins, if one sibling is type 2 diabetic, the other will have 100% risk of getting diabetes. Scientists believe that a child of type 2 diabetic mother has greater chances of developing maternally inherited diabetes and deafness (MIDD), a rare form of type 2 diabetes, than one born to a non-diabetic mother, but a type 2 diabetic father.

Concisely, it is not important that the disease will infect all those people, who are genetically at risk of developing type 2 diabetes; this means that a person's environment and his or her lifestyle are important components responsible for causing diabetes. The major risks of developing type 2 diabetes are obesity and inactivity. You can prevent type 2 diabetes by adopting a healthier lifestyle, right eating habits and  regularl monitoring of body weight. Doctors recommend screening of type 2 diabetes once you cross 30 years.


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