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Am I at Risk for Diabetes if Someone in My Family Has It?

Am I at Risk for Diabetes if Someone in My Family Has It?

The World Health Organization reports that the number of people living with diabetes rose from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. And those numbers have continued to rise. While some cases of diabetes are more difficult and detrimental than other cases, the disease requires careful daily management and close contact with your provider. 

Desoto Family Care Clinic is led by our experienced and compassionate staff of medical professionals, providing care in and around Southaven, Mississippi. With plenty of experience in essential diabetes care, your provider at Desoto Family Care Clinic is ready to assist you with managing or preventing diabetes

How does diabetes happen?

As common as diabetes is, not everyone is aware of the risk factors and daily life with this condition. Diabetes mellitus is an autoimmune disease, the history of which dates back as far as Ancient Egypt. 

During this early recognition of the disease, doctors would normally ask their patient to urinate into a container, and the provider would smell the patient’s urine. If the urine smelled sweet, it was determined that the person was living with this unknown, unnamed, exhausting condition. 

Insulin was isolated and developed by a Canadian doctor in the 1920s, turning a diabetes diagnosis from a death sentence to a treatable condition. Today, people living with diabetes rely on a steady supply of insulin, which is produced en masse by pharmaceutical companies.  

Your pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that allows glucose from digested food products to enter your cells, where it’s converted into energy for everything your body does. When your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or doesn’t produce insulin at all, your cells can’t absorb the glucose in your blood, creating abnormally high blood sugar, also known as diabetes. 

There are two main types of diabetes — type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes was originally called juvenile diabetes due to its tendency to appear in children. Later, the number of adults diagnosed with juvenile diabetes rose so high, it was clear that age didn’t play an important role. 

Type 2 diabetes was originally called adult-onset diabetes due to its tendency to affect adults. But within the last two decades, the number of children living with type 2 diabetes has risen dramatically, coinciding with an overall gain in child and adolescent weight across the board. 

What stops the pancreas from working in most people with diabetes is unclear. Pancreatic cancer and damage to the pancreas are obvious causes, but what causes a typical case of diabetes is unknown.

Does my family history put me at risk for diabetes? 

Like any chronic condition, including depression and hypertension, diabetes doesn’t discriminate. Family history plays an important role in your chances of developing the disease. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that a person with an immediate blood relative living with diabetes is much more likely to develop the disease — whether one of the two main types, or one of the other types of diabetes.  

There’s nothing that can prevent type 1 diabetes, as a genetic abnormality causes it, but type 2 diabetes, even with family history as a risk factor, can be prevented. Type 2 is almost always the result of a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle. 

Combating your risk for type 2 diabetes is fairly simple: eat right, exercise regularly, manage your stress, and get plenty of water and at least seven hours of sleep consistently. 

The caring providers at Desoto Family Care Clinic understand how difficult it is to lose weight or change your daily habits. Through our diabetes care and management program, we assist those at risk for diabetes with a comprehensive plan to keep you healthy and protect your longevity. 

Incidentally, the path of prevention for diabetes mirrors the path of prevention for a number of other chronic and/or metabolic disorders, like hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and conditions that affect your kidneys. 

Diabetes doesn’t discriminate. Even if you’re in good health, but have family members living with diabetes, you could be at risk. Don’t live in fear of diabetes — rise to meet it, and stop it in its tracks. Call our office at 662-510-5353 or request an appointment online today. 

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