MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: Is there a high percentage for a boy to get diabetes if his mother has it.

Date: Wed Apr 19 12:37:02 2006
Posted By: Gabriel Harris, Post-doc/Fellow, Diet and Human Performance Lab, USDA
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 1139490230.Me


Before we talk about the chances of getting diabetes, it is important that we know about this disease.

Diabetes is a diseases that makes it difficult for the body to use sugar (specifically glucose) properly. The human body makes a protein called insulin to help get glucose into our cells. Diabetics either do not have insulin or cannot effectively use the insulin that their body makes.

There are 2 basic types of diabetes.

Type I diabetes is caused by a disease that effects the organ that makes insulin, the pancreas. It often starts when people are young. The damage to the pancreas causes the body to stop making insulin. These people must take insulin injections every day.

Type II diabetes is when the body cannot use the insulin that it makes. This can be caused by being overweight. This disease often starts after age 40.

Your original question was whether there is a greater chance of a boy getting diabetes if his mother has it. You also mentioned that the grandfather and great grandfather also had it.

The answer is that the more family members have diabetes, the greater the chance that this boy or any other person in the family will get this disease.

Scientists are still unsure how much other things, like diet or exercise might help prevent diabetes, but it's a very good idea to eat well and be active if someone has a family history of the disease.

I hope that this helps!

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