Genetic and Environmental Factors in Diabetes


Let’s talk about genetic and environmental factors of diabetes that have been discovered through research.

There are genetic factors in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. These genetic factors cause a predisposition, and then something in the environment triggers the disease.


Type 1 Diabetes

  • Usually, in cases with type 1 diabetes, the patient will inherit risk factors from both parents.
  • Researchers are seeking to find out which environmental factors might trigger type 1 diabetes:
    • Cold weather
    • Viruses
    • Early diet in childhood
    • Certain antibodies (proteins) in the blood that destroy bacteria and viruses, but autoantibodies are antibodies that have “gone bad” and attack the body’s own tissues.


Type 2 Diabetes

  • With type 2 diabetes there is a strong genetic link to family history and lineage.
  • Lifestyle is also an important factor. There is a genetic basis for obesity, but families can also pass on bad habits.

Research scientists at the UC Irvine Diabetes Center continue to study the relationship between obesity and diabetes, as well as other factors.


According to Dr. Wang
Environmental factors may expose the defects in genetics, and certain environmental factors may chemically modify our genes. The intimate interplay between our environment and genetics play an important role in the development of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.


The information presented in this post was adapted from the American Diabetes Association: Genetics of Diabetes.

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