Type 2 Diabetes and the Genetic Connection

2 diabetes

Is type 2 diabetes genetic? It’s a thought that crosses over our minds every time one of our relatives become diagnosed.

Am I in trouble? We think about this when we discover the possible conditions and disorder that can occur.

According to the American Diabetes Association, ADA, genes are not enough to determine if someone will develop type 2 diabetes (ADA, 2017). There are factors that contribute to the development of the disease.

The ADA states, “type 2 diabetes has a stronger link to family history than type 1, although it depends on environmental factors” (ADA, 2017). As stated, genetics does have a strong link to diabetes.

But, lifestyle choices influence whether or not someone develops type 2 diabetes. This makes it difficult for several reasons to determine what is genetic and what isn’t.

According to the ADA, “Obesity tends to run in families, and families tend to have similar eating and exercise habits” (ADA, 2017). This makes it extremely difficult to separate genetics and lifestyle choices.

Normally, there is a mixture of both. It is important to recognize that type 2 diabetes runs in families. There is a genetic basis that causes this, but it is also due to the child learning bad lifestyle habits with diet and physical activity (ADA, 2017).

Type 2 diabetes normally is caused by insulin resistance, which means your “body doesn’t use insulin as well as it should” (Leontis, 2016). This can cause high blood sugar levels and lead to heart and kidney diseases. Not only that, but there are links to several other diseases that have a higher risk for people with diabetes.

However, there is some great news! You can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes! Eating a healthy diet that is low on sodium is great. It is important to cut out trans fats from your normal diet.

Also, physical activity is a necessity when trying to overcome environmental factors. You should do aerobic exercise for 150 minutes a week. Strength training a few times a week is also beneficial. Make sure you stretch before and after every workout to help with flexibility.

All of these physical activities help with building a healthier heart and burning energy. This will also help you to control blood sugar levels.

Since there is such a strong connection between genetics and diabetes, it is important to understand your family history. Talking with family members should help with discovering if anyone has diabetes.

This will also be important for helping your family overall. If you start eating healthier, you can help your children learn good habits that will help them delay or prevent type 2 diabetes. It is important to plant those sooner rather than later.

I grew up eating fast food at least 2 to 3 times a week. When I got to college, it took me over 3 years to get that number down to 1 time a week. Your diet habits now will affect your children later.

Therefore, go out and make healthy lifestyle decisions! Even if you have a predisposition to develop type 2 diabetes, you can at least lower your risks of actually developing the disease.


American Diabetes Association. (2017). Genetics of diabetes. Web. American Diabetes Association. Retrieved from http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/genetics-of-diabetes.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

Leontis, L.M. & Hess-Fischl, A. (2016). Type 2 diabetes causes: genetics and lifestyle choices play a role. Web. Vertical Health LLC. Retrieved from https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/type-2-diabetes/type-2-diabetes-causes