Diabetes and 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.
We need to change the way we live...and Government and local Government needs to help at a local level.
A healthy lifestyle can delay and even prevent diabetes, even if it is your family and you have inherited the 'diabetic' genes (Lancet 09).
- Regular exercise such as swimming, cycling, or walking helps to delay or prevent diabetes: 30 minutes a day is the recommended minimum, but 90 minutes a day is needed to lose weight. Exercise is proven to prevent diabetes. Gaining weight increases the risk of diabetes 2-3 times at least.
- A healthy diet helps to delay or prevent diabetes (see below).
- Smoking is harmful; it damages the arteries and can double the problems that diabetes can itself cause.
- Smoking doubles the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Even passive smoking increase the risk. See
- For the relations of type 2 diabetics, the World Health Organisation recommends a fasting blood sugar test every 3 years.
- Sunlight also prevents diabetes, mainly type 2, but also to a lesser degree type 1. Thus Bangladeshi immigrants to the UK are thought to be very prone to type 2 diabetes partly because they get too little vitamin D or sunlight exposure (lack or exercise and unhealthy diets are other risk factors). See Diabetes Care 2011
- Stress increases the risk of diabetes: BMJ BMJ Pubmed
- Keep you blood pressure down. Risks increase above the level 115/65, and this should be your target if you are well. Optimal blood pressure for diabetes.
- Television viewing increases obesity, so children should not watch too much. Being overweight doubles the risk of death.
- avoiding risk factors and sticking to a healthy lifestyle reduces problems to 20%. A high risk lifestyle is 5 times more like to cause medical problems. BMJ 2008 BMJ
- a driving job increases the risk of diabetes 2010
- New antipsychotic drugs increase the risk of diabetes, as does osteoarthritis.
- Cycling keeps you fit BMJ 11
- Linked to urban poverty and communities etc NEJM 11 .
- High blood pressure (in people who are not diabetic) increases the risk of diabetes 2012.
- metformin for those at highest risk nearly halves the risk of developing diabetes BMJ14
- the risk for you BMJ 15 Prediabetes is harmful BMJ 16
enlarge healthy lifestyle...20% of medical problems
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:
- being overweight
- first degree blood relative with adult onset diabetes
- certain ethnic groups such as African-Americans, Hispanics, certain Native American groups, and Asians
- delivery of a baby weighing more than 9 lbs or a history of diabetes during pregnancy ("gestational diabetes")
- over 45y
- less than 2 hours exercise a day
- are you pre-diabetic?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- salt: generally use should be limited: 70% of our salt comes from processed food. (Such as crisps and convenience foods.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Processed meat increases the risk of diabetes by 91%, & red meat also by 41%. Cinnamon may decrease risk.
- Fibre prevents heart disease BMJ 14
- Fish twice a week is very helpful, protecting the circulation, see.
- higher sugar...more heart and stroke problems BMJ 14
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:
See here to work out your body mass index. See if you are at risk with a computer simulation of risk
- type 2 diabetes does run in families
- even some types of insulin dependent type 1 diabetes may run in families. If your type 1 diabetes started at a very young age, and especially if it runs in the family, you need genetic testing. There are rare patients who can replace their insulin with other treatment.
- There are MODY types of diabetes. Genetic testing may be advisable. An excellent review BMJ 2011