Diabetes Type 2 –Can I Pass it on to my Child?
Every prospective parent worries about the health of their unborn child, and that is perfectly normal. In today’s world we understand more about genes and it has increased the worry about what can I pass on to my child. Anyone who has type 2 diabetes knows that it is a serious condition and the complications of type 2 diabetes can be dramatic.
So Can I Pass on type 2 diabetes to my child?
The simple answer to the question of passing on of diabetes is yes it can be passed on, but that does not mean that it will be. Doctor Elliot Joslin started a twenty year scientific study about the genetic risk of diabetes in 1946 in a small town in Massachutas. That study is still going on in the Joslin foundation and its conclusions are no means conclusive.
About 1 in every 9 people will develop diabetes type 2 at some time in their lives, but these figures are increasing globally at such an alarming rate that it is almost an epidemic and that suggests that despite the fact that there is a risk of hereditary diabetes, there is another factor in play.
That factor is almost certain to be environmental triggers. In plain language that means that knowing the odds and looking at it as a numbers game is not that helpful as a way of assessing the risk. Too many people who have no hereditary risk of diabetes are contracting type 2 diabetes and that means that the environment and lifestyle choices are a major factor. Not everything in life can come down to numbers and statistics alone.
Gene pools do vary over time, but one generation is not significant in changes. Certainly there are clusters and outbreaks of diabetes that are unexplained by patters. For instance the incidence of diabetes in Northern Europe is higher than in Southern Europe, but some of the islands in Southern Italy have diabetic rates as high as in the North.
It does not take a mathematical genius to work out that the climate is warmer in Southern Europe, but if climate changes the risk then why do Sardinians have a very rate of diabetes? Certainly we do not have a any definitive answers at this time.
Many people who are type 2 diabetics will know of someone in their family who has also got diabetes. That does not mean that there is a diabetic gene which causes diabetes. Over ninety percent of diabetics are type 2 which means that they did not have the disease at birth they developed it at a later stage. Two things are evident here, the first thing is that because of the high number of type two diabetics they are almost certain to know someone else in their family with diabetes and if it was genetic they would have been born with the gene.
Families often share lifestyle choices. If you a child born into a family of couch potatoes, you are not very likely to develop a passion for exercise, of course you may in later make the change towards daily exercise but as a young child you are m ore likely to follow the examples set by your parents or siblings.
Families who eat a very healthy diet are not likely to give their young children the option of eating a large amount of sugar, simply because the sugar products will be in the house in high quantities. That does not mean when the children older and have their own pocket money that they will not buy sweets and chocolate, it merely means that their ability to get chocolate will be restricted when they are younger.
Overall this means that although diabetes runs in family because of the sheer number of people with type 2 diabetes, there are no definite scientific statements that can allocate the risk as a finite number.
Many of the causes of diabetes are not yet fully understood. It is your choice that makes a difference rather than being aware of the risks as a finite answer. Your choices are behavioral choice and there are many things that a diabetic can do to make the risk of passing on diabetes minimal.
The Factors that affect your Risk of passing Diabetes on to your child.
- A healthy lifestyle
- How much regular exercise you take
- The types of food you eat every day
- Overall control of your weight, and therefore your sugar levels
A healthy Lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle is eponymous, it is not just for after Christmas or to shed a few pounds for a party, it is for life. It means making choices on a daily basis that will have an impact on your health and then repeating those same choices the day after, and the day after that.
Every adult should increase their heart rate for at least thirty minutes three times a week, or for fifteen minutes a day. That does not mean that you need expensive equipment or pay for a gym membership, it means a walk a brisk walk which is fast enough to raise your heart beat slightly.
Children need more exercise than that ideally they should have an hours exercise a day. Even that exercise does not have to be regulated; children play naturally and during play they hide, run away play tag or skip.
If you have young children take them to a nearby park or recreation ground or beach. If you live in a city there are many places to take them which are free. The bank of a river offers opportunities for exercise. Exercise together for added fun and quality time with your children.
The Types of Food you Eat Every Day.
Everybody eats unhealthy food occasionally even my husband who cured his type 2 diabetes eats a pudding occasionally! The operative word is occasionally, the types of food choices you make everyday determines how healthy your diet is overall. A healthy diet is not a chocolate biscuit in each hand.
An overall healthy diet has at least five portions of vegetables a day and two pieces of fruit. Whole grain foods are less processed so brown rice is healthier than white rice because it has had less of its goodness stripped out, the same goes for pasta and bread. Lean white meat and fish are healthier than hamburgers and oily fish such as salmon sardines and mackerel are also good for you. A healthy diet is influenced by fat and the way you cook affects your diet, grilling, steaming and casseroles are healthier than frying food. That does not mean that you can’t have fried chicken as a special treat – just don’t eat it every day.
How you eat also affects the amount of food you eat, fast food joints have upbeat music and bright lights both of which encourage you to eat more. Try to avoid mindless eating, eat at a table and don’t do anything else but eat, turn your phone off
Keep control of your weight
One massive catalyst for diabetes is obesity, eat healthily to be fuller for longer and listen to when you are hungry. If you eat slowly and chew your food you can feel when you have had enough.
In conclusion all of the lifestyle choices you make on a daily basis will have more impact on whether you can pass on diabetes to your child. The choice is yours and yours alone because lifestyle choices can change the course of genetic predispositions.