Diabetes and the Family

David Kinshuck


In the family

Diabetes may run in the family.

The World Health Organisation now advises that the relations of people with type 2 diabetes should take precautions. The dietary and exercise advice really apply to every person (whether related to people with diabetes or not), but regular sugar checks are not usually necessary for relations of type 1 diabetics. Some of the genes that are passed on from parents to children have been found. Visit the American Diabetes Association for further information, as they publish new reports each month.

A recent study found that losing weight, and having a healthy diet with regular exercise, can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by more than 50%.  here.

We need to change the way we live...and Government and local Government needs to help at a local level.


For everyone (but especially the relations of type 2 diabetics)

A healthy lifestyle can delay and even prevent diabetes, even if it is your family and you have inherited the 'diabetic' genes (Lancet 09).


Check ups for those at risk

In some families 50% of relations of people with type 2 diabetes are also prone to develop it, and these precautions will delay it, prevent it, or at least detect it in its early stages before any harm is done. Estimate your risk here.   Finn Risk (excludes ethnicity).

If you have high blood pressure, the author suggests your relations should also have their blood pressures checked. The World Health Organisation previously recommended a fasting blood sugar every 3 years for all those at risk, and addressing risk factors as below.

Risk factors include:



A healthy diet

  1. vegetables/fruit: 7-9 x 100gm portions a day. This is not as hard as it sounds (e.g. a salad with lunch & supper, and an apple/orange/banana is 9). A  Mediterranean diet has been proven to reduce the risk of diabetes.
  2. As little animal fat or fat from dairy food as possible. This includes red meat. Vegetarians have lower blood pressures and healthier lipid levels, and live longer,  see. Green leaf vegetables prevent cancer, BMJ 2010. Transfats are harmful. There are recent reports that saturated fats are not that harmful to the heart, but there is no dispute that the amount of fat is harmful; transfats are harmful; and red meats increase the risk of bowel cancer.
  3. much of the energy you need should be in the form of potatoes, rice, pasta, brown bread, rather than refined foods such as those with sugar
  4. salt: generally use should be limited: 70% of our salt comes from processed food. (Such as crisps and convenience foods.)
  5. Avoid becoming overweight: exercise regularly and eat less. Being overweight is now believed to cause pancreas damage. Pancreas, the gland behind your stomach, normally makes insulin, is damaged when fat accumulates.
  6. Also, when you are overweight the insulin that is made is not effective; you need a lot more insulin for the same effect. This is because the body's fat cells become 'resistant' to insulin if they have a lot of fat in them.
  7. Processed meat increases the risk of diabetes by 91%, & red meat also by 41%. Cinnamon may decrease risk.
  8. Fibre prevents heart disease BMJ 14
  9. Fish twice a week is very helpful, protecting the circulation, see.
  10. higher sugar...more heart and stroke problems BMJ 14


Are you at risk of developing diabetes?

Diabetes is not being prevented: there is too little action, too late, see.  Do you have pre-diabetes? A fasting blood sugar every 3 years will detect this. Being overweight can increase the risk many times:


what is your risk of developing diabetes?

See here to work out your body mass index.  See if you are at risk with a computer simulation of risk