Diabetes and inheritance: this must be regarded as the million-dollar question on everyone’s mind. And, rightly so because once you or anyone in your family has diabetes, there are a series of doubts that follow. Why me? How did this happen to me? Is it my daily habits that led to this?
Most often than not, diabetes symptoms are difficult to recognize unless they become quite severe. In this case, a diabetes specialist provides the much needed aid and treatment required to control the disease. The treatment for diabetes varies according to age, complexity and type of diabetes. The types of diabetes include type1 diabetes, type2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes, which can be due to both genetics and environmental factors.
How do genes affect diabetes?
Although research has shown that genetics affect the onset of diabetes in a major way, but they alone are not what triggers it. But, if you have diabetes, chances are that your children may too. Some children are born more prone to the disease than others, when it comes to diabetes. A proof of this is the study of the identical twins. Although both have identical genes, yet when one has type1 diabetes, the other has the disease only half of the time. In case of type2 diabetes, when one twin has it, the chances of the other one getting it are no more than 3 out of 4.
Your child’s risk of Type 1 diabetes
The World Health Organization (WHO), states that the first degree relatives have a higher risk of developing Type1 diabetes than unrelated individuals from the general population.
According to American Diabetes Association, if you are a man with type1 diabetes, then your child’s odds of developing diabetes are 1 in 17. If you are a woman with type 1 diabetes and your child was born before you were 25, your child’s risk is 1 in 25; although if you give birth after you turned 25, then your child’s risk in 1 in 100.
If your onset of diabetes was at a very tender age (approximately 10-11 year old), then the chances of your child developing the same, are doubled.
Of course, exceptions are there, if you have other disorders related to your immune system, or thyroid. In these cases, there is improper functioning of both, the adrenal gland and the thyroid gland, which worsen the case of diabetes. This increases your child’s risk for both as 1 in 2.
Diabetes symptoms become more prominent in these cases.
Your child’s risk of Type2 diabetes
Type2 diabetes, as well known, is partly inherited. Studies have revealed that the first degree relatives of individuals with type2 diabetes, are about thrice more likely to develop the disease without no prior family history of diabetes.
Just like, type1 diabetes, the risk of your child developing the disease depends on what age the disease dawned on you. If you are diagnosed before the age of 50, the risk is 1 in 7, and if after 50, your child’s risk is 1 in 13.
If both the parents have type2 diabetes, the child’s risk is 1 in 2. Although, it is higher if the parent with this disease is the mother.
There are other forms of diabetes, which may be directly inherited from the parents, that include maturity onset diabetes in the young (MODY) and diabetes due to mitochondrial DNA mutation.
What can help?
• Symptom recognition:
Regular health checkups might help in recognizing the symptoms of the disease, which helps in controlling the same.
• Early detection of the disease:
Once, the symptoms are shown, blood test follows. And, the early it is, the better for your child.
• Consultation with a diabetes specialist:
Consulting a specialist is the foremost thing that needs to be done in order to educate oneself and be aware about the disease.
• Proper treatment for diabetes and control:
The treatment for diabetes needs to be of the utmost importance, and while it is not curable, control is indeed possible.
• An active and healthy lifestyle:
A healthy mind resides in a healthy body. So, in order to deal with disease; adequate nutrition, an active lifestyle needs to be promoted amongst the children.
Researchers are still looking out for the genes that majorly affect diabetes, and most likely within the next decade, these will be known. At this time, even health specialists and doctors cannot tell who is at risk of diabetes. Hence, predictive genetic testing for diabetes needs to be studied in detail and practiced, so as to minimize the disadvantages that come with diabetes, and might also help in preventing the disease.
For more info: www.diabetacare.com
Stories by ppujja M