Endocrinology-Diabetes Questions Diabetes

How can one prevent diabetes if it is hereditary?

My family has a history of diabetes and both my parents are suffering from this condition. Is there anything I can do to prevent it?

4 Answers

Dear patent,

Most importantly in your situation is to maintain a normal body weight for your height; excess body weight leads to insulin resistance which leads to diabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Program was a major research study which demonstrated in people with pre-diabetes that a 7% weight loss in association with at least 150 minutes of exercise each week led to markedly decreased rate of diabetes in the population studied. Ten years later, those people who maintained the weight loss had about a 25% decreased rate of clinical diabetes than those who gained weight. Speak to your doctor or nutritionist about a low-carb, low-saturated fat diet, and exercise.


Marvin A. Leder, MD FACP FACE
It might or might not be possible to prevent progression to diabetes if you have a strong family history. It is possible to decrease risk of developing diabetes if you lead a healthy life style with healthy diet and regular exercise.

Dr Marina Strizhevsky
That is an impossible question to answer since there are different types of inheritance however lets say one has a tendency to gain weight and is out of shape. This is an insulin resistance diabetes usually and what happens is that the person's insulin needs are greater than the insulin making capability. They use up their insulin. The less that person eats the less insulin will be used up. They can become insulin sensitive. So nothing new here. Diet and exercise, and the more the better .
The answer is, yes, there is something you can do. You did not tell me what kind of diabetes your parents have, but I am going to assume it is Type 2. This form of diabetes is highly genetic, but not everyone with the gene will get diabetes. In both types of diabetes, there are environmental factors that need to intersect with the genetic to produce the diabetes. For type 2 DM, we do not know all the environmental factors. We do know a few. The #1 is overweight. The excess fat causes resistance to the action of insulin requiring the pancreas to produce more insulin to keep the sugar down & thus just like a race car that blows an engine after a few miles so the pancreas can't keep up and it becomes damaged. So, eat right, exercise, don't smoke, be very light on alcohol, and keep your weight in a good level for your height. I can't promise that this will prevent diabetes since you have the genes, but it can & at the very least can slow down the development & progression. Good Luck!