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Know About Genetics Of Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes And How To Prevent If It Runs In The Family

Genetic factors play an important role in the risk of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body's immune system, which is responsible for fighting pathogens that enter the body, starts attacking the beta cells of the pancreas causing insulin deficiency. On the other hand, type 2 diabetes results from the interactions between many lifestyle, environmental and strong hereditary factors.

This article will tell you about the genetics of type 1 and type 2 diabetes and how to prevent the condition if it runs in a family. Take a look.

Genetics Of Type 1 Diabetes

According to a study, type 1 diabetes affects around 15 per 100000 individuals. [1] It is one of the common forms of diabetes in children, non-Hispanic whites, especially the descents of the Northern European.

Type 1 diabetes is mainly regarded as an autoimmune disease as it occurs as a result of immune system dysfunction, causing destruction of pancreatic cells and obstructing the production of insulin.

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Some studies say that the occurrence of autoimmune diabetes is linked to the genetic mutation of the key genes which are responsible for immune functions.

For example, a condition named autoimmune polyglandular syndrome type 1 is caused by mutations of the AIRE gene which is vital for the immune system response. Patients with the aforementioned condition are often diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and other immune-related diseases such as Addison's disease.

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Similarly, FoxP3 gene and STAT3 gene is also responsible for various immune functions and dysfunction in these genes can critically affect the development of autoimmunity.

Therefore, as per a study, the onset of type 1 diabetes results from the interactions of predisposed genes along with some environmental factors that eventually affect the autoimmune functioning and attack the beta cells. [2]

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Genetics Of Type 2 Diabetes

According to a study, environmental risk factors such as obesity, stress and sedentary lifestyle along with a strong hereditary component are known to cause type 2 diabetes. Some toxins and nutritional deficiencies may also play an important role in the development of the condition.

However, the same environmental factors do not affect all individuals with the same intensity. Meaning, some individuals do not develop diabetes in spite of getting exposed to most of the factors while some may develop soon even after being exposed to only a few of these factors.

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This clearly depicts that hereditary factors play an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes. The risk of developing diabetes is 40 per cent in people who has at least one parent with the condition and 70 per cent with both the parents as diabetics.

On the other hand, with first degree relatives as diabetics, the members of the family are at three times more risk of developing the condition compared to people without any diabetics in the family. The rate is 70 per cent in the case of identical twins and 20-30 per cent in fraternal twins.

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People who develop diabetes later in life, around the age of 35-60, may indicate that environmental factors play a greater role, however, close studies reveal that these people have a heritability of obesity, instead of diabetes, which is one of the top-ranked risk factors for hyperglycemia.

Therefore, the genetic factor does play an important role in developing type 2 diabetes, but not entirely. This is because if the traditional risk factors such as BMI, age, sex and cholesterol levels of an individual improve, they may dominate the genetic markers and reduce the risk of diabetes. [3]

How To Prevent Diabetes If It Runs In A Family?

1. A good diet

The first healthy step to take is to follow a good diet. The diet to prevent diabetes the natural way is to add more fibre-rich foods, whole grains and heart-healthy foods to your diet. These three options may help prevent the condition in a healthy way.

2. Avoid saturated foods

Saturated and trans-fat foods can aggravate diabetes and increase the chances of developing the condition more if it runs in the family. Therefore, the best way is to stick to foods that are low in unhealthy fats and carbs. [4]

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3. Exercise regularly

Exercising regularly should be a part of a lifestyle to prevent not only diabetes but ward off any type of diseases and keep the body fit and healthy. It should include gymming and yoga along with any forms of physical activities such as swimming and climbing the stairs. Experts suggest that 30 minutes of exercise every day may help prevent diabetes.

4. Quit tobacco and alcohol

Excessive smoking and drinking may cause dysfunction of the immune cells and increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. People with diabetes in the family are more susceptible to getting affected by these bad habits. Quitting tobacco and alcohol can reduce the risk to a large extent. [5]

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5. Use sugar alternatives

Replacing sugar with healthier alternatives like honey and jaggery can help reduce the risk of diabetes. If it runs in a family, one needs to be more cautious and use sugar alternatives or no sugar more often rather than a few times.

6. Make ways to reduce stress

Stress is considered a silent risk factor for diabetes. The best way to keep stress in control is by practising mindfulness, yoga and meditation. If a person has a family history of depression along with diabetes, they should make ways to reduce any type of stress or learn to fight with them positively.

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To Conclude

From the aforementioned studies, it is clear that genetic factors do play a vital role in the occurrence of diabetes, but can also be prevented if lifestyle factors such as body weight and diet are watched closely and maintained in a healthy way.