Like father, like sons and daughters in type-II diabetes

Re your article ‘Diabetes: the real culprit’ (WDDTY vol 13 no 12), I am a 63-year-old type II diabetic, diagnosed at the age of 50. I am also a biochemist/molecular biologist, and I applaud your article for its clarity and accessibility for those who are not familiar with the science of the disease.

However, there is one factor concerning the development of type-II diabetes to which your article does not refer – the role of genetics, which confers on families the disposition/susceptibility to develop the disease.

Diabetes contributed to the death of my father. My elder brother, with a lifestyle radically different from my own, also developed the disease in his early 50s. That there is a genetic factor means that the interpretation of data on the relationship between diet and type-II diabetes is not quite as straightforward as your article suggests.

For those who carry this genetic trait, issues concerning diet are of critical importance from a very early age. Awareness of the virtual inevitability of sons or daughters following parents with respect to this debilitating disease should be raised. – Professor Peter Butterworth, Esher, Surrey

WDDTY replies: What may be genetic is the propensity toward a weak pancreas that can be overwhelmed by high-glycaemic foods. The genetic component strongly argues that, in families with diabetes, the condition can be held at bay and possibly even forestalled by following a low-glycaemic diet throughout life.

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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