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Learn about a host of diabetes-related topics such as how many Americans suffer from this disease to how to easily adjust to a new diet after diagnoses. This section will provide you with the information you need to make informed dietary decisions regarding diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes: Genetics or Lifestyle?

Among approximately one out of every 10 Americans affected by diabetes, what actually instigated its development in these individuals? Is type 2 diabetes hereditary and genetic or based on lifestyle factors? We're answering these conflicting questions and uniting an answer!


Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects almost 10 percent of the U.S. population. But among the approximate one out of every 10 Americans affected, what actually instigated its development in these individuals? Is type 2 diabetes hereditary and genetic or based on lifestyle factors? BistroMD is answering these conflicting questions and uniting an answer!

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. In type 1 diabetes, the body's own immune system destroys the cells responsible for producing insulin, the hormone required to assist glucose from the blood into the cell. Due to the complete loss of insulin, insulin therapy is required for its management along with careful, close attention and monitoring. Symptoms generally start around childhood and cannot be prevented. Type 2 diabetes is mostly related to insulin resistance, a condition in which cells do not use insulin effectively which causes blood sugars to rise. Unlike type 1, type 2 diabetes is mostly developed in individuals who are overweight or obese and likely due to lifestyle choices. Risk factors include:

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, especially if weight is mostly carried around the abdomen.

Sedentary Lifestyle
A lack of exercise and physical activity increases diabetes primarily contributed to the increased potential for weight gain.

Family History and Genetics
Individuals are at an increased risk if a parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.

African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Asian-Americans, and Pacific Islanders are more susceptible to diabetes than other races and ethnicities.

With advancing age, particularly after 45, comes an increased risk of diabetes. The likelihood is largely related to probable slower metabolisms and reduced exercise patterns, which may cultivate weight gain. However, with childhood obesity on the rise, diabetes risk is trickling down at a younger age.

High Blood Pressure
Also known as hypertension, having high blood pressure (140/90 mm Hg) is linked to an increased diabetes risk.

High Blood Lipids
Significant links suggest individuals with low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or "good" cholesterol and high triglyceride levels raise their risk of diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes
Women who develop gestational diabetes, diabetes during pregnancy, are at an increased risk of developing diabetes after the baby is born. Women who birth babies weighing over nine pounds also raises their risk.

Is Type 2 Diabetes Genetic or Lifestyle?

Developing diabetes may be a melting pot of both genetic and lifestyle factors. As mentioned, there is a strong tie between family and cultural history and type 2 diabetes. That being said, just because you are born into a family with the condition, does not grant diabetes as a final destination. Lifestyle plays a hefty role in developing type 2 diabetes, mostly related excess weight that comes from a poor diet or lack of physical activity. Preventative measures can reduce the risk of its diagnosis, even in prediabetic individuals. Lessen the likelihood of diabetes by...

...modifying the diet
Filling the diet with whole grains, colorful produce, lean proteins, dairy products, and healthy fats can naturally limit room for sweets and packaged convenience foods and snacks. Find a more comprehensive diabetes meal plan here.

...partaking in exercise
It is recommended to be active most days, with at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Incorporating both aerobic exercises and strength-training workouts can facilitate weight loss, which may lessen the likelihood of developing diabetes.

While it may seem too good to be true, research has suggested inadequate sleep can impede on weight loss efforts and heighten diabetes risk. Recommendations suggests adults achieve seven to nine hours of sleep each night. To best nurture adequate sleep cycles, turn off the lights and all electronics leading up to bedtime!

...practicing stress-relieving techniques
Stress has a large role in developing type 2 diabetes, mostly related to weight gain from frequent stress eating. The stimulated stress hormone, known as cortisol, can also encourage the body to hold onto weight with much more ease, making weight loss a tougher battle. So rather than resorting to foods, manage stress with yoga, dancing, aromatherapy, or other preferred stress-relieving techniques.

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