Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Family History Of Diabetes And The Effect of Fitness

Type 2 diabetes is increasingly being seen as an aspect of what is called the metabolic syndrome which is a fairly common condition characterized by insulin resistance and many related effects, including:

    * high blood sugar,
    * high blood pressure,
    * high levels of various fats in the blood, and
    * obesity.

Obesity, particularly the style characterized by abdominal fat, is one of the criteria for the metabolic syndrome, and most people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are overweight in this way.

Poor physical fitness, and poor conditioning are also associated with Type 2 diabetes, especially in individuals with a family history of this type of diabetes. Anyone whose close relatives have Type 2 diabetes have a two to four times higher risk of developing the condition than people without such a family history.

Investigators in the Department of Physiology at S. Nijalingappa Medical College in India looked at fitness in healthy individuals with a family history of Type 2 diabetes and compared them with volunteers with a healthy family history.

The study, published in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism in November 2011, included 64 individuals, 32 with a positive family history of Type 2...

    * the body mass index, and waist measurement were higher in the participants with a family history of diabetes than in those without a family history of diabetes, and
    * those with a positive family history of diabetes were slower to recover from exercise than those with a negative family history.

The causes of Type 2 diabetes are complex, and consist of interactions of:

    * heredity,
    * environment,
    * diet and
    * lifestyle.

Although specific genes have been associated with Type 2 diabetes, perhaps at least part of the risk associated with family history could be due to eating patterns and a sedentary lifestyle taught to children from their parents and significant others. If that is the case, then changing patterns... diet and activity, within a family could lower the risk of diabetes associated with family history. If not, healthy eating habits and exercise are still known to help prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes, so developing good eating and lifestyle habits in a family are bound to be beneficial.

Thanksgiving is just a couple of weeks away. After the feast has been consumed, instead of sitting around consider...

    * having a family nature hike and see how many colors of leaves and fall-flowering plants you can find. See if you can discover birds' nests that were hidden by foliage during the summer. (Don't take any of them; some birds return to the same nest each season).
    * a hayride is a good way to get out of the house and away from food.

For Christmas and Hanukkah in the northern hemisphere, think of toys that encourage activity, such as:

    * sleds,
    * skis, or
    * ice skates.

In warmer climates and in the southern hemisphere, surfboards and swimsuits will encourage physical activity. Try having a beach party for a different and healthy way of celebrating the holidays.

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