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Genetics and its role in diabetes

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A lot of people are prone to diabetes and it is usually based on lifestyle, poor food habits, etc. But genetics has a crucial role to play in diabetes too, especially type 2 diabetes, which is caused by both genetic and environmental factors. The overall understanding or the contribution of genetics towards diabetes depends on a majority of factors. Some of these are discussed below-


Genetic Mutations


Over the years scientists have linked gene mutations to risks of higher levels of diabetes. However, it doesn’t imply that everyone with genetic mutation would be prone to diabetes. But if you have one or more of the mutations it is possible that you are prone to diabetes. These mutations are not hereditary, but happen over time because of external and internal factors. 


Heredity and family links

family links

The next genetic factor that plays a crucial role here is family history. The genes from the parents are carried forward to their kids and that is why genetics has an impact on those who get diabetes. However, in case of medical history of the parents, there are more than just one genes to be blamed. For instance, someone who has very lazy and sedentary parents would likely be getting those genes from them. The same theory applies to their food habits and lifestyle. Obese parents tend to have obese kids because of the genetic factor. So diabetes is not really caused because of a gene in this case, it does lay the foundation of getting the disease. 


What research shows?


Researches were conducted on twins, which revealed that (to a certain extent) it was the combination of genes, with environmental factors, which caused diabetes and not genes alone. But some genetic mutations are highly to be blamed for being a hindrance in glucose regulation. Some of the genes responsible for diabetes are TCF7L2, that has a direct impact on the insulin secretion and glucose production. Then there is the ulfonylurea urea receptor (ABCC8) that aids in regulating insulin. Along with this, certain races are more prone to some genetic mutations. These include calpain 10 genes, which are found in many Mexican Americans who are diabetic. 


How to determine if you have those genes?

how to determine if i have those genes

Ideally there is no need to undergo strict processes or tests for these genes. You can check your-


    •    body mass index (BMI)

    •    family history

    •    high blood pressure

    •    elevated triglycerides and cholesterol levels

    •    history of gestational diabetes

The above-mentioned factors give you a clearer picture of you being prone to diabetes. Genetic impact is something that cannot really be changed. But what you can do here is focus on preventing the same. Opting for a healthier lifestyle that includes eating fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly and adapting a more active lifestyle is highly recommended here. With these lifestyle changes, you can reduce the impact of the genes and minimise your risks of getting diabetes.

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genes and heredity

family links

posted Jun 14, 2016 by Daisy

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Obesity is defined as the condition where your BMI or body mass index is more than 30. It is basically a number derived by calculating your body mass divided by the square of the body height. 18.5 to 25 are defined as a healthy weight, and 25-30 as being overweight. 

Diabetes can be caused due to obesity. However, type 2 diabetes is linked obesity and not usually the type 1. Remember the latter is usually not connected with lifestyle factors and other diabetic forms like gestational diabetes. 

Type 2 diabetes and obesity 

Individuals who are obese tend to be at a much greater risk of diabetes as compared to individuals within a healthy weight. The risk of an obese person getting diabetes is threefold. Also, the way your fat is distributed in the body is another factor that impacts diabetes. In many cases, men or women with higher fat deposit around the stomach area were known to be more prone to diabetes. But the precise mechanism of this relation is still unclear. There are some obese individuals who don’t get diabetes and there are some diabetic people who are not obese. But in many cases, obesity and diabetes directly impact each other. 

Obesity and its impact on the body 

One study by the ‘Science’ revealed that overweight or obese individuals were more prone to stress, which also had an impact on their cells. Obesity tends to over-stress membranous network named endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Since there are more nutrients to process than what your body can handle, it sends out a warning signal. Because of this, insulin is dumped into the system at a higher pace, which in turn affects your body insulin resistance. With such high levels of glucose in the blood, your symptoms of diabetes commence. 

Also, in many cases obesity triggers changes in the metabolism rate of the body. As a result, fat deposits increase and this also causes hormonal and chemical changes in the body including release of high amounts of fatty acids that are known to cause development of insulin resistance. Often this resistance to insulin is triggered off and followed with dysfunction in the pancreas that prevent release of insulin and this may cause inability to control blood glucose levels. 

Controlling obesity 

  • Your best bet here would be controlling your obesity levels and also trying to manage your weight. If you can do the same while you are on the borderline, then nothing like it. Not only will it reduce risks of diabetes but also help you have a healthier life. 
  • If you are diabetic and obese, then it is time to get serious about an action plan. You should indulge in exercises like walking, yoga, cardio or whatever you can make time for. 30-40 minutes of exercise everyday is suggested. 
  • Additionally, being obese puts you at higher risks of associated diseases, especially heart diseases. So make sure that you get a medical check up from time to time and also monitor your sugar levels more diligently. 
  • In acute cases, alternatives like Bariatric surgery may be suggested.
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