Several members of my close family have diabetes.Will attempts at prevention still work for me?
Regarding type 2 diabetes, your success in preventing diabetes depends upon a combination of how successful you are at attaining the necessary goals and how susceptible your family is. Inherited susceptibility can range from modest to very high. The risk also depends very much on whether both sides of a person's family have a hereditary pattern of diabetes. If both the mother and the father's sides have a high frequency of diabetes, then their offspring will have a marked tendency to develop type 2 diabetes. In spite of the importance of heredity, it is clear than environment and lifestyle play a major role. This is clearly the case because hereditary tendencies to disease change little over the course of a few generations, while environment and lifestyle can change very rapidly. The recent explosive rise in the frequency of type 2 diabetes in most regions of the world clearly implicates the latter as the most important factor. The most readily identifiable lifestyle factors that precipitate type 2 diabetes are weight gain and lack of exercise. Greater than 90% of type 2 diabetes in our society results from one, or usually both, of these factors. Depending on the severity of your inherited risk, a greater or lesser degree of adherence to a lifestyle that avoids overweight or obesity and engages you in regular exercise will effectively prevent you from developing type 2 diabetes.