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The Role of Genetics in Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is one of the most complex chronic health conditions, affecting millions of people. While it's well known that diet and lifestyle play a very important role in the onset of this metabolic disorder, research suggests that genetics can influence whether or not you may be prone to developing type 2 diabetes. 

So what is the role of genetics in type 2 diabetes? In this article, we explore the relationship between genetic factors and Type 2 Diabetes, such as the latest findings and how your genetics may influence your risk. 


How Does Genetics Contribute to Type 2 Diabetes? 

Chances are, if you've been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you're probably not the first person in your family with the condition. Type 1 diabetes symptoms usually appear quite early in life, while Type 2 diabetes is considered the genetic form of diabetes, and usually presents itself later in life due to environmental and lifestyle choices. The genetic and environmental risk factors often tend to overlap as poor dietary choices may get passed down from one generation to the next.  


Does Genetics Affect Blood Glucose Levels? 

In diabetics, the body is no longer fully capable of making or using insulin. The pancreas produces a hormone called insulin that helps to regulate blood glucose levels by releasing insulin which then carries excess glucose into the cells. Insulin manages how much sugar (glucose) goes from the blood to cells for energy. After eating, the pancreas releases insulin when blood sugar is high, helping cells absorb excess glucose and lowering blood sugar levels. 

Many individuals develop insulin resistance before being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and as insulin resistance progresses, the amount of insulin needed for regulating blood glucose levels increases. With time, the body is less capable of accurately reading blood glucose, leading to an insulin shortage which prevents blood glucose from being adequately reduced. 

As we get older, it's natural for some to develop insulin resistance, however poor lifestyle and excessive weight gain can worsen the condition, which means an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 


Is Type 2 Diabetes Genetic? 

Many often wonder "Which type of diabetes is genetic?", and it's easy to confuse the types. While we know that type 2 diabetes is inheritable, the mechanics of it isn't quite that simple. If you have a close family relative with the disease, such as a parent or a sibling, you'll likely have a higher chance of developing it yourself. This may be due to a combination of factors or which genetics is one, but also shared or similar lifestyle and dietary choices. 

The more family members have it, the higher your risk of developing this genetic form of diabetes symptoms. So is type 1 diabetes also genetic? The simple answer is no, type 1 diabetes in contrast usually has its onset very early in life. 


Which Genes Are Responsible for Type 2 Diabetes? 

The causes of type 2 diabetes are both genetic and environmental as studies seem to support. There are a number of gene variations  involved in the development of type 2 diabetes and these variations can get affected by environmental factors. Variations in the genes can also affect each other, all of which can further increase your risk. 

Simply having one gene variation doesn't affect an individual's disease risk by much, but the more variations s you have, the more your risk of developing diabetes increases. It's important to note that having a predisposition to a disease or having a specific gene variation doesn't mean you're definitely going to develop the disease, it simply means you'll need to take preventive measures in order to gain the best quality of life, regardless of what your genes may be saying. 

A variation in any gene that is involved in the regulation of glucose levels can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes, such as the genes dictating the production of glucose and regulation of insulin, as well as how glucose levels are sensed in the body. 


Here's more on the genes that influence type 2 diabetes risk and what their role is: 

  • ABCC8 - Assists in regulating insulin 
  • CAPN10 - Linked to an increased type 2 diabetes risk in Mexican Americans 
  • GLUT2 - Assists in transporting glucose into the pancreas 
  • GCGR - A glucagon hormone involved in glucose regulation 
  • TCF7L2 - Affects insulin secretion and glucose production 


Your solution to prevention 

Understanding the role of genetics in type 2 diabetes is vital for making informed health decisions. Genetic testing equips you with the insight to make the most suitable lifestyle choices for the prevention of conditions, such as type 2 diabetes. At 3X4, we help individuals gain the blueprint of their unique genetic makeup, which may have a significant influence on their health outcomes – try the 3X4 Test Today!