Is diabetes genetic?

You inherit a susceptibility to Type II diabetes; you do not inherit diabetes. One of three Americans will become diabetic, with women more likely to develop diabetes than men. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that the average person who is diagnosed with diabetes at age 40 will die 11.6 year earlier than a non-diabetic and he or she will be severely incapacitated with one or more side effects of diabetes 18.6 years before a non- diabetic.

Risk factors for developing diabetes include: a family history of diabetes; storing fat primarily in the belly; high triglycerides; low HDL (good) cholesterol; blood sugar higher than 200 thirty minutes after a meal; fasting blood sugar above 110; excess hair on the face or body (in women); or diabetes during pregnancy.

A person with any of these warning signs should immediately make lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes: avoid refined carbohydrates (foods made with flour, white rice, milled corn; all added sugars and drinks that contain sugar), exercise regularly, lose weight if you are overweight, and keep your weight controlled for the rest of your life. If you do this you will be at low risk for developing diabetes, even if you have the genes that make you susceptible.

Journal of the American Medical Association, October 8, 2003

Checked 1/12/10

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