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Type 2 diabetes in families and diabetes prevention

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mark Walker, Dr Muthu Jayapaul


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Type 2 diabetes frequently clusters in families. Non-diabetic first-degree relatives (offspring and siblings) of patients with type 2 diabetes have a three-fold increased lifetime risk of developing diabetes compared with the background population. This increased diabetes risk results from the combined effects of shared genetic and lifestyle factors. Extensive studies of non-diabetic relatives of type 2 diabetic families show that impaired insulin secretion, insulin resistance and an adverse cardiovascular risk factor profile exist well before the development of frank diabetes. Despite this well-documented adverse metabolic predisposition, patients with type 2 diabetes and their non-diabetic relatives generally have a limited understanding of the risks. Several large-scale studies, such as the Finnish Diabetes Prevention and Diabetes Prevention Program studies, indicate unequivocally that lifestyle modification through dietary change and exercise can dramatically decrease risk of progression to diabetes in high-risk subjects. However, such individuals pursue lifestyle changes only if they understand their own risk of developing diabetes. Further work is therefore needed to investigate and develop optimal ways of improving knowledge of diabetes risk in families of patients with type 2 diabetes, so that they can appreciate the potential benefits of diabetes prevention strategies. Copyright © 2008 FEND.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Walker M, Walker L, Jayapaul MK

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Diabetes Nursing

Year: 2008

Volume: 5

Issue: 2

Pages: 52-56

Online publication date: 18/02/2015

ISSN (print): 1551-7853

ISSN (electronic): 1551-7861


DOI: 10.1002/edn.108