Starting Out - 101 Series

Dealing with Hereditary Conditions

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Dealing with Hereditary Condition

We inherit several characteristics from our parents, such as the color of our skin, eyes, and general appearance. However, we may also inherit some medical conditions such as hypertension, obesity, and diabetes.

Diabetes is a complex condition that may run in families. The good news is that one can take control of their health and avoid the possibility of developing diabetes by adopting proactive measures.

Predisposing risk factors of type-2 diabetes

It is an unfortunate truth that diabetes is a hereditary disorder. Chances of developing type -2 diabetes are more if parents have diabetes. There is limited knowledge about the role of genetics in type-1 diabetes. Let us, therefore, focus our attention on type-2 diabetes, which has proven genetic potential.

An individual has greater chances of developing type-2 diabetes and the associated risk factors such as obesity if these are also present in the family. However, one should also understand that other environmental and lifestyle factors can also contribute to the development of type-2 diabetes. Diabetes is a complex condition involving several factors, and heredity is just one of these factors.

The following data will help you understand the possibility of type-2 diabetes if it runs in the family:

  • Having a diabetic father: 30% risk
  • A diabetic mother: the risk is a bit more than 30%
  • A diabetic mother and father: there is a 70% risk

Type-2 diabetes is also common in individuals with the following risk factors:

  • Improper diet
  • Sedentary life
  • Being overweight
  • Hypertension
  • Being a smoker

Being overweight is a significant risk factor of type-2 diabetes because it is associated with the development of insulin resistance. The possibility of having type-2 diabetes is more in individuals who tend to consume meals that lack fiber and are rich in fat content. Lack of regular exercise is also a vital risk factor for type-2 diabetes.

A proactive approach to deal with heredity

Heredity is not a single culprit as several other predisposing factors can cause type-2 diabetes. One may develop type-2 diabetes even with no single diabetic in the family. However, one must take extra precautions if there is a family history to keep diabetes at bay.

Unlike our past generations, we are fortunate to have easy access to blood glucose monitoring instruments and fitness apps to gain 360-degree insight into an array of personal health parameters. One must make appropriate use of these facilities to achieve predictable control over the diabetes risk factors. 

We cannot do much about the genetic predisposition to diabetes. But it is possible to adopt a healthy lifestyle and avoid crucial risk factors such as unhealthy diet and obesity.  

Frequent monitoring of significant parameters like blood glucose levels, body weight, and cholesterol can help us understand how our body reacts to the lifestyle, environment, and various health measures. Blood glucose monitoring is the best way to zero in on a nutritious diet that does not cause crazy fluctuations in the levels.

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Developing metabolic awareness on a personal level is a vital objective of adopting proactive health measures. It will help you deal with hereditary factors and avoid diabetes. The standard diet plans may not help manage diabetes. 

Moreover, everyone has a unique body with different physical and metabolic attributes. It is better to create your own meal plan and stick to a healthy lifestyle to combat the predisposing factors of type-2 diabetes.


1. Is type-2 diabetes genetic?

Diabetes involves a complex combination of several risk factors like genetics. An individual’s chances of becoming diabetic increase multifold if it runs in the family. However, other factors like obesity, poor diet, and sedentary lifestyle also play an important role in predisposing an individual to type-2 DM.

2. Is diabetes inherited from mother or father?

Diabetes is a hereditary disorder because there are greater chances of an individual suffering from diabetes if both parents have diabetes. The genetic predisposition is more evident in type-2 diabetes than type-1 diabetes. The possible risk of developing diabetes in middle age is approximately 70% if both parents have diabetes.

3. Do genetics and lifestyle play a role in causing type-2 DM?

Lifestyle choices are as important as genetics in the probability of type-2 diabetes. The chances are higher in an individual with both risk factors than a person who has no diabetics in the family. Therefore, one must adopt proactive health measures if genetics and lifestyle-related risk factors are present.

4. Can you avoid diabetes if it runs in your family?

Yes, one can avoid or prolong the development of type-2 diabetes by adopting a healthy lifestyle and monitoring blood glucose levels continuously. Using reliable fitness apps can improve general health parameters and help you stay away or prolong the onset of diabetes.

5. Is diabetes a common hereditary disease? 

It is true that like hypertension and obesity, diabetes also runs in families, but several risk factors also contribute to type-2 diabetes. One should note that hypertension and obesity are also significant risk factors for diabetes. One must find ways to maintain proper weight and adopt a healthy lifestyle to avoid these conditions.

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