The Saturday Share #17
I’m having a blast, and I’ve decided that every week I’m going to share one of my favorite questions with you here.
Sharecare Question: Does diabetes skip a generation?
My “Expert” answer: What a cool question! And to be honest, I really don’t know the answer, but I’m happy to speculate. Type-2 Diabetes, the most common kind, has a very strong genetic component and it’s considered normal to see many generations of one family have it. Even the less common Type-1 Diabetes may have some genetic components as well.
So we definitely see diabetes pass from generation to generation in many families. We also see it pop up where it never was before, but of course every human is the joining of two family trees, so it’s possible to get “diabetes genes” even though neither your mother or father’s side had it.
But as to skipping a generation. Hmmmm…. I don’t think so. Things that “skip” tend to be recessive traits, like blue eyes. In the case of blue eyes, you can carry blue jeans (so to speak) but you need to hook up with a blue-eyed person to get blue-eyed children. Diabetes genes seem to be more like the dominant kind. I think it more likely that each generation will be equally pre-disposed, but that some generations might not trigger the genes.
Remember that having the genes for diabetes does not guarantee that you'll get it. The genetic predisposition for diabetes still has to be triggered to get the disease.
Those triggers tend to be a magic combination of age and weight. Generally the fatter you get at a young age, the more likely you are to develop full-blown diabetes. If you had a family where the diabetes genes ran strong but one generation was more fit (or died younger) than typical, I think it is possible that diabetes wouldn’t manifest in that generation.
But the diabetes genes would still be there. They just wouldn’t be active, so it might appear to “skip” that generation simply because none of them developed diabetes.
Still, I’d be willing to bet if we took a member of that generation and fattened them up enough, they’d get diabetes too.
You can check out other Expert’s answers to this question, and my answers to many more questions by going here:
Then select the “Answers” tab near the top left.