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Diabetes - Do I need to worry? Is it hereditory?

(8 Posts)
Sparkler Wed 29-Jul-09 14:42:47

Found out this morning that mum has been found to have Type 2 diabetes following a fasting blood test. She has to go to the hospital for consultation next week and I will go with her (hospital letter states it's important to have someone to go with her).
Apparently mum's mum, mum's aunt and her daughter have it/have had it so am just wondering how much I am at risk of getting it and my own children.
I will ask these qustions next week when we see the doctor but just wondered if anyone has been through this.
TIA

PortAndLemon Wed 29-Jul-09 14:58:21

There is a strong genetic element to an individual's inherent propensity to develop Type 2 diabetes, but lifestyle is a very significant (the most significant?) factor in whether that individual actually develops it or not.

Essentially, if you don't have any of the genetic risk factors (and there are a lot of individual factors, not all of which are known or understood) you can probably lead the world's most unhealthy lifestyle and not develop diabetes. Or you can have several genetic risk factors but eat a low-fat diet with plenty of fibre and unrefined carbohydrates and get lots of exercise and not develop it.

If there is a strong family history of diabetes in your family it makes it more important for you and your children to lead a healthy lifestyle to attempt to counterbalance the genetic factors. Because there are so many interacting genetic and environmental factors I'd be surprised if anyone could even attempt to put a figure on your personal risk level; "higher than average" is likely to be as specific as you'll get.

Sparkler Wed 29-Jul-09 17:44:25

Thanks PortAndLemon.

spenthen Wed 29-Jul-09 20:08:44

Hey Sparkler - thanks for posting this. My mum was diagnosed recently (in her early 70s), and her mum had it too in late life. So I've been wondering about where that left me.

They both led pretty healthy lives up to diagnosis - certainly my mum has never been overweight and eats healthily. So it looks like the genetic influence is pretty strong in our family line then. Great....hmm

Just going to cook up some brown rice.....

PrefetParfait Wed 29-Jul-09 20:15:15

Port and Lemon's post is spot on.

But I believe that most elderley would go on to develop type II diabetes eventually if they we to live long enough. I (personally) believe that the poor lifestyle just accelerates the onset.

Basically diabetes occurs because the pancreas is starting to fail...like many organs do eventually in old age. I think that if there was a strong genetic linkage Spenthen then the onset would be much earlier.

It is also worth bearing in mind that type II diabetes is often controllable with dietry advice, and insulin injections are not always necessary. It is a very different disease to the "diabetes" (type I) that most people think of.

Sparkler Wed 29-Jul-09 20:37:29

Thanks for your replies. All definately makes sense. (she says drinking wine hmm smile )

spenthen Wed 29-Jul-09 20:49:41

Thanks Prefet. My mum went straight on to medication at diagnosis - apparently there was no possibility of controlling it through diet in her case.

I take your point about old age though. I've never fancied old age to be honest anyway - I've never met anyone who can honestly say they enjoy it. Will crack open the double cream and endeavour to shorten my life so as to avoid the risk of diabetes then!!gringrin

btw Sparkler hope your mum gets on OK next week - mine was a bit thrown by the number of appointments and tests to begin with, but it all seems to have settled down now; I think she's getting used to the whole thing.

Sparkler Wed 29-Jul-09 22:27:54

LOL Spenthen and thanks. Enjoy your cream!! smile

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