Diabetes has been shown to have hereditary factors, but the genetic link is just one factor to be included with possible environmental causes that might trigger the disorder for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Not everyone at risk for diabetes gets the disease.
People with type 1 diabetes inherit a predisposition for the disease from both parents, according to the American Diabetes Association. In type 1 diabetes,
the body does not produce insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Insulin injections, along with diet and medication, help people live normally.
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Other factors also contribute to the development of type 1, even when there is a hereditary factor. Researchers have found the onset of type 1 diabetes occurs more often in the winter and is more common in areas with cold climates, the ADA said.
Viruses could trigger the disease for some patients. Research also suggests that type 1 diabetes occurs less often in people who were breastfed and for those who began eating solid food at a later age, ADA reported. The disease may take years to develop for people who are at risk.
Type 2 diabetes has links to hereditary factors, but lifestyles also influence the development of the disease. In type 2 diabetes, the body doesn’t produce insulin properly, so diet and medications help control blood sugar levels.
The increased risk may involve family habits. For example, obesity is a contributing factor to type 2 diabetes and families often practice similar eating and exercise habits, the ADA noted. Both genetic and environmental factors may trigger the disorder.
A child’s risk of developing diabetes is one in 17 if the father has type 1 diabetes, ADA said. Children born to women with type 1 have a one in 25 risk if she was younger than age 25 during delivery, and a one in 100 chance if born to a woman age 25 or older.
A child’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes is one in seven if a parent was diagnosed with the disease before age 50 and one in 13 if the parent was diagnosed with diabetes after age 50, according to the ADA. Some researchers believe the risk is greater for a child if the mother has type 2 or if both parents have type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes occurs in about five to 10 percent of diagnosed diabetes cases, according to the Joslin Diabetes Center.
Some 13,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in children and teenagers.
Type 2 diabetes, which occurs in 90 to 95 percent of the cases, often develops in people in their 40s and over, the center said. The disorder is more common in people who are obese or sedentary.
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