Though several gene mutations have been linked to diabetes, none of them actually cause the disease on their by themselves. In order to affect your health, those genetic factors must be combined with other environmental factors.
In fact, it is difficult to separate completely the health risks that lie in your genes and the ones that come coming from your lifestyle. As lifestyle choices are usually passed down to you from your parents; inactive parents tend to have inactive children. Likewise, unhealthy eating habits are likely to be passed to the next generation, and these habits contribute to developing diabetes even when genetic factors exist alongside them.
What Causes Diabetes?
When it comes to diabetes, genetics are only half the story. For both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, you inherit a predisposition to the disease. This means that you are more likely to develop diabetes than other people because of the genes you possess in your DNA. However, this doesn’t mean that diabetes is an eventuality for you. It only means that you are predisposed to it, or that the likelihood is stronger compared to others. Even then, you may develop the disease or you may not.
It all depends on your environment. Something triggers you to develop diabetes. These triggers may be linked to your lifestyle — a poor diet or obesity — or it may be genetic susceptibility. In this example, obesity is also inherited, so it can be difficult to isolate just how much of a role genetics plays in diabetes.