For many families, type 2 diabetes can develop in several members of the household. For some people, diabetes has been diagnosed throughout previous generations of family members. However, does this mean, you are bound to inherit the condition?
Over a period of 25 years, according to statistics, the number of people in the world who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes has increased from 35 million to 240 million. Moreover, these statistics don’t take into account the number of individuals with undiagnosed diabetes. Many families have the relevant concern regarding whether they or future generations could genetically develop type 2 diabetes. While the magnitude of cases is quite significant, the reality is that the widespread issue of diabetes couldn’t have simply occurred through genetic or inherited means in such a short time span.
If genetic alteration is not the reason behind the dramatic increase in type 2 diabetes cases, then why has the condition been on the rise over the past few decades? As a matter of fact, diabetes is a condition that is almost entirely caused by environmental and lifestyle factors. Our genetic code itself may not be altered through these circumstances but our environment as well as stress and improper nutrition and fitness habits can influence the way those genes are expressed. Predisposed genes can certainly contribute to the development of diabetes, however, if you are not exposed to these environmental and lifestyle triggers, the diabetes gene may never fully develop.
The factors that can have the greatest influence on the development of type 2 diabetes among the general population include: diet, exercise, stress management, exposure to environmental and/or food-based toxins and habits which promote weight gain and obesity.
Ultimately, an individual’s exposure to these environmental and lifestyle factors, which subsequently affects their genetic expression, is the greatest contributor to the development of diabetes among families than their actual genome, or set of genes. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, approximately 90 percent of diseases may be caused due to external factors, not through genetic or inherited means.
- Drugs / medications
- Heavy metals
- Physical or psychological stressors
- Internal processes include:
- Free radical production
- Oxidative stress (body’s ability to detoxify chemicals)
- Dysbiosis (imbalance of bad to good biotic gut flora)
It’s essential to understand that genetic code cannot change. What can change are which parts of this code are expressed. Research studies have discovered that our environment, as well as our diet, microbes, allergens, toxins, stresses and social connections, even our thoughts and beliefs can trigger which genes are expressed. A person’s genetic code can be tagged by an environmental or lifestyle factor, then, those can alter how their genes are expressed and passed down through future generations.
For example, if your grandmother consumed an excess amount of sugar, smoked, or was exposed to mercury from eating too much sushi, she may have triggered the genetic expression that could lead to obesity and the development of type 2 diabetes, passing it down from generation to generation. However, this does not necessarily mean that you will develop the same conditions she did. The predisposed genes could contribute to obesity and diabetes but this does not mean you are bound to inherit the condition. If you do not expose yourself to the same environmental and lifestyle factors as your grandmother, in this example, you may never develop type 2 diabetes.
In the end, diabetes shouldn’t be strictly considered to be a genetic or inherited disorder. While it’s true that the hereditary genes from your parents and/or grandparents increase your risk of developing the condition, this doesn’t mean you will develop type 2 diabetes. The condition is a direct outcome of environmental and lifestyle factors. Fortunately, you can change this outcome.
Can Type 2 Diabetes be Reversed?
Most people believe that diabetes is irreversible and that once you have it, you will gradually begin to experience a decline in function, including hear disease, kidney failure, blindness, amputation, strokes and dementia. Nonetheless, research studies and scientific evidence has demonstrated that type 2 diabetes is reversible, especially if it is treated aggressively in its early stages through changes in environmental exposure and lifestyle habits, including nutrition and fitness interventions.
Even more advanced stages of diabetes can be reversed with very intense lifestyle changes, supplements and medications. A research study showed that individuals with progressive type 2 diabetes can indeed recover from the condition, even if their pancreas have becomed damaged. The research study also demonstrated that diabetes can be reversed in just one week through drastic changes in diet, particularly a plant-based diet, low in glycemic and calories.
When patients modified their lifestyles, their blood sugar levels plummeted, triglyceride levels fell and the pancreas recovered. After a single week, they were taken off their medication, proving that diabetes is not a progressive, incurable condition. The consumption of a balanced nutrition became the source of their overall health and wellness. While it may take a lot of commitment to reverse type 2 diabetes, you can certainly heal your own body with the right conditions.
7 Strategies to Control Diabetes
Even if you’ve recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or you’ve lived with the condition for years, diabetes is reversible. For further support, you can read “the Blood Sugar Solution” to learn essential strategies and incorporate their comprehensive dietary, nutrient and lifestyle plan to help you reverse your diabetes.
In the mean time, there are several other strategies you can implement right now to prevent or reverse type 2 diabetes.
Whether diabetes is a condition found in several members of your family, it has been diagnosed throughout several generations in your family or you have this disorder yourself, the ability to normalize blood sugar levels and lower insulin can be under your control, beginning with the following seven strategies.
- Ask your doctor for the proper tests. Most doctors focus on fasting blood sugar. This is actually a poor indicator of diabetes. The best test to help properly diagnose the condition is an insulin response test where insulin levels are measured first in a fasting state and then again at one and two hour intervals after consuming a sugary drink. Request this test from your doctor.
- Avoid sugar. The basics of nutrition are very simple. Considerably decrease or eliminate refined sugars and processed carbohydrates from your diet. Include whole, real foods, such as lean protein (chicken or fish), veggies, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains.
- Supplement intelligently. Supplements are an essential part of treating diabetes. A good multivitamin, vitamin D, fish oil, and special blood sugar balancing nutrients, such as alpha lipoic acid, chromium picolinate, biotin, cinnamon, green tea catechins, and glucomannan, should also be included.
- Relax. Stress is a major unrecognized contributor to insulin resistance and blood sugar imbalances. Relax every day with deep breathing, visualization, yoga, meditation, and other relaxation techniques.
- Be more active. Aside from changing your diet, exercise and physical activity is probably the best form of treatment for obesity and diabetes. Walk a minimum of 30 minutes every day to experience the wonderful benefits of exercise. For some, 30 to 60 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, 4 to 6 times a week may be necessary.
- Address your environment. Environmental toxins have also been proven to contribute to obesity and the development of diabetes. Filter your water, look for green cleaning products and avoid plastics whenever you can.
- Get enough sleep. Studies show even one partial night of poor sleep can contribute to insulin resistance as well as other complications which could lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.
Many people who have family members with type 2 diabetes are concerned whether they themselves or future generations could be at risk of inheriting the condition. While scientific studies and evidence have shown that predisposed genes could influence the development of diabetes, more research studies have demonstrated that environmental and lifestyle factors are the true source of type 2 diabetes. However, changing these factors could prevent and even reverse diabetes.
For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
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