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Quality Health Care and You - Diabetes

Is Diabetes Inherited?

06/23/2009

Question:

My grandmother got type 2 diabetes when she was in her 70s. Does this mean that I am more likely to get it too?

Answer:

Type 2 diabetes can run in families, so there is a possibility that you could develop type 2 diabetes at some point. 

Type 2 diabetes (non-insulin-dependent) results from not having enough insulin or the insulin not working properly which then causes the blood levels of glucose to be too high and interferes with normal body processes. 

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes – about 90%.  While both types of diabetes (type 1 and type 2) have an inherited component, there are also environmentally factors that put someone at increased risk to develop type 2 diabetes.  So there is not a simple pattern of inheritance.    

Type 2 diabetes is often seen in adults or older people. Some of the risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes include being obese, not exercising, having a poor diet, smoking and having a family history of diabetes.    

The chance that you will get diabetes will depend on your family and life style.  While you probably have somewhat of an increased chance to develop type 2 diabetes because your grandmother has it, exercise, proper nutrition, and not smoking are all things you can do to help decrease the chance that you will get diabetes. 

The American Diabetes Association has an excellent website for more information about diabetes.

Related Resources:

American Diabetes Association

For more information:

Go to the Quality Health Care and You - Diabetes health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Anne   Matthews, RN, PhD Anne Matthews, RN, PhD
Associate Professor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University