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Essay on Hereditary Diseases

Hereditary diseases are used interchangeably with genetic diseases. They are coursed by genetic mutations in the human body and are passed from a parent to a child who by human reproduction, passes it to his or her child. These mutations can be random or a result of environmental factors. Examples include; sickle cell disease, type 2 diabetes, Hemophilia, Tay-Sachs, and Huntington’s disease. The inheritance of these genes is the greatest contributor to such diseases and the well-being of offspring. It is a condition that is precipitated by chromosomes which have the genes that are inherited by an offspring passed from a parent during reproduction. The result is the passing of a genetic condition from a parent to an offspring, which becomes part of his body and to a large extent, his health. It is worth noting that, such disorders being a phenomenon resulting from an inheritance, it is, therefore, necessary to look at some of these disorders and examine their manifestation in human beings. This essay seeks to explore the family genetic history as far as hereditary diseases are concerned, and how to reduce the risks in families coursed by these genetic factors. This study aims to look at my family’s medical history which dates back to three generations.

Family Medical History

Tommy Martin, the father to my grandparent who died in the year 1950, had three sons; Henry, Jacob, and Mathew. He died after battling type 2 diabetes for ten years, which was diagnosed at the age of forty years. During their time whenever a person got ill, many resulted to traditional medicine which they believed would clear any form of ailment in the body. As fate would have it, after five years of using traditional concoctions with temporary reliefs, is when they visited a hospital that culminated in a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Coming to my grandparents’ lineage, Jacob, one of the three sons, lived for eighty years and died due to old age without being affected by type 2 diabetes. However, one of his brothers Henry was diagnosed with type2 diabetes, at the age of sixty, but managed to live with it up to the age of seventy-five when he succumbed. This was due to early detection that helped the medics to manage this disease during this period. Because of this repeated diagnosis in the family, it became an issue of great concern across the family and would mean that certain types of herbs to be prescribed to families by the elders which were considered as detoxifiers and would also clear any bad omen that brought such disease. This was a belief system during their time that when the same family members die of the same disease, it is a bad omen or spirit that struck the family.

Scientific knowledge and sensitization proved this fact wrong as years went by since the schooled individuals would enlighten other family members about the disease, causes, and what they needed to do to reduce the risks. My grandparents who had two sons and three daughters, lived to see his great-grandchildren and died at the age of eighty-five due to old age and not type 2 diabetes. However, one of the daughters was diagnosed at the age of fifty-five at a very early stage and she has since managed with medication to a great extent that it doesn’t hinder her from performing her daily duties. To add to the strangeness of the situation in our family her daughter who is thirty years old was recently taken ill and was diagnosed with the same disease. However, her situation has been gravitated by overweight which family sources indicate that her eating habits were poor coupled with no exercise which affected her body mass Index which was at the twenty-eighth mark. My family health history has been an eye-opener to all of us in the family since it has precipitated into a great appetite for information about type 2 diabetes and how we can prevent ourselves against the risk since we have come into terms with the reality that it is hereditary and if measures are not taken at an early stage, the family stands the risk of losing loved ones at a very tender age, which is a tragedy to our generation. For decades, many family members in different families have perished due to this disease and in most cases, it tends to complicate with high blood pressure. A case in point is my brother who after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the age of forty-five years, developed complications with high blood pressure after two years. He has since been managing the condition to a great extent however; there is still cause for worry and fear among the family members due to these developments.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition that is posing a threat to the human race in recent times, and which has grown in lips and bounds to an extent of bankrupting families due to the financial burden. This condition is brought about by a gradual increase in glucose in the blood as a result of impaired insulin production (Yin & Zongjie, 2010). The pancreatic β-cells are responsible for producing insulin. Insulin is stored and released the moment it is enhanced by an increase in glucose in the blood. Insulin being the main hormone plays the role of controlling glucose uptake from blood into the cells. It plays an important role in the change of glucose to glycogen which is stored in the liver and the cells. When glucose level drops in the blood, it results in a reduction in insulin that is released by the β-cells and on the other hand, an increase in the release of glucagon by α-cells (Yin & Zongjie,2010). This phenomenon precipitates the conversion of glycogen to glucose

Diabetes type2, being a genetic condition, affects over 150million people the world over with fears that this number is expected to increase due to changes in lifestyle and other environmental factors (Ahmed 2002). People living with type 2 diabetes are increasing in numbers with 80% living in low- and middle-income countries. Statistics show that in 2011, It resulted in 4.6 million deaths and the figure is expected to increase to an estimated 439 million people by the year 2030 (Ahmed, 2002). The emergence of type 2 diabetes varies to a great extent from one geographical area to another since lifestyle and environmental risk factors vary (Olokoba & Obateru, 2012). This explains the reason why there are high prevalence rates in some areas than others.

The disease develops slowly and symptoms can be mild and dismissed at the early stages of development. Notable symptoms include; lack of energy, fatigue, constant hunger, frequent urination, blurry vision, excessive thirst, numbness in your hands or feet. As the disease progresses some of the symptoms become more severe and course some complications such as kidney disease, eye problems, gum disease, heart attack, or stroke. While lifestyle choices are an eminent trigger to this disease, there is a great extent of genetic predisposition to the development of type 2 diabetes condition in a family. In severe cases, type 2 diabetes leads to complications such as renal failure, blindness, and arterial disease. Other courses of diabetes are; diseases such as onset diabetes in the young, pregnancy, certain medications, overweight, and poor diet. (Yin & Zongjie,2010). Studies associating the increase in type 2 diabetes with poor diet coupled with lack of body exercise, show that it has led to the increase in cases of obesity, which are estimated to reach an estimated figure of 600million cases by the year 2035 (Ahmed, 2002). This is a worrying trend.

Researchers and medical specialists are advocating for the practice of regular body exercise in human health to reduce the risks of developing diseases, and not only type 2 diabetes, but other closely related diseases such as high blood pressure and other lifestyle diseases (Olokoba & Obateru, 2012). They, therefore, express the responsibility of individual self in dealing with type 2 diabetes, through body exercises. Statistics indicate that body exercise reduces the risk of the disease by an average of 40%, which is a positive indication as far as lifestyle diseases are concerned (Olokoba & Obateru, 2012). Due to the significance of this exercise, numerous researches have been conducted to determine the required minimum time limit for a body exercise that can bring the right impact of reducing the risk. A case in point is the UK department of health, which recommended after intense research, a 150minute of exercise (Olokoba & Obateru, 2012). Its findings indicated a reduction in the prevalence rates of type 2 diabetes globally over time.

Further, lifestyle adjustments through diet modification by eating foods rich in fiber and unsaturated fats, moderate consumption of alcohol, and abstinence from smoking, are some of the researched and recommended remedies that greatly reduce the risks of diabetes. Other foods and beverages that should be limited include; processed foods, sugary drinks, and refined baked goods like bread. On the other hand, there are recommended healthy foods that prevent the risks and are also best for already diagnosed patients. They include; legumes, whole fruits, whole grains, and non-starchy vegetables. It is worth noting that these measures when adopted in a family will go a long way into reducing the risk of these genetic factors coursing diabetes type 2. Below are recommended portions on how to lose weight, recommended calorie intake, and avoiding weight gain to reduce the risk of these genetic factors.

Any person who is overweight is considered to lose weight of 5 to 10 percent of their current body weight. For instance, a person weighing 200 pounds, means he or she should lose 10 to 20 pounds (Olokoba & Obateru, 2012). When one loses more weight, to a great extent it contributes to a reduction in blood sugars to normal ranges. Reducing the number of calories, one eats each day lowers considerably blood sugar levels before weight loss. The first steps to losing weight require eating small portions of calories and having regular exercise. Other strategies that may be good for people who are having challenges losing weight include; medications and surgery (Olokoba & Obateru, 2012). However, these are mostly applicable to extreme situations where the former has not been responsive to an individual.

There are treatments for type 2 diabetes that contribute to weight gain such as intensive insulin therapy and other oral medications. This to a large extent poses a great challenge to diabetic patients. Some of the guidelines that can help one avoid weight gain include;

Regular weight checks, where if one gains some pounds in a week, he or she needs to decrease the amount of calories intake or enhance his efforts on body exercise. These actions should be taken before one is overweight because it becomes hard to lose weight when one gains it.

Secondly, is when blood sugar control improves due to treatment, it is important to consider decreasing calorie intake. Thirdly, when blood sugar levels are low during a day then it is advisable to visit the nearest medical provider for further consultation (Olokoba & Obateru, 2012). These remedies are critical to maintaining one’s weight to the required figures as far as diabetes is concerned.

The number of calories one takes varies according to weight, age, sex, height, and the amount of activity one undertakes. Some of the guidelines include; Men and women who are active are recommended to take 15 calories per pound. Sedentary men and women who are over 55 years old can take13 calories per pound as the recommended portion. Sedentary women and obese adults should limit themselves to 10 calories per pound. Pregnant women and lactating mothers are advised to take 15 to 17 calories per pound (Olokoba & Obateru, 2012). Losing weight can be an uphill task especially if one does not consider taking the right portions. For one to lose 1 to 2 pounds in a week, he needs to reduce the amount of calorie uptake to maintain weight. This requires a great deal of commitment and dedication, coupled with support from family and other environmental factors.

The extensive knowledge gathered on type 2 diabetes will play a central role in the management of this disease condition in my family. It will create a body of knowledge that brings awareness about the disease in terms of causes and prevention against risks. For instance, due to the hereditary nature, my family members will be cautious because of similar cases in the family generation. They will, therefore, be able to take necessary measures in terms of practicing the recommended actions of weight management, and ensure that they eat healthy foods. This will go a long way toward reducing the risks of these genetic factors.

Through this research, recommendations on lifestyle changes will be key in my family in order to set a standard that will eliminate the risks of the disease. It is important to note that lifestyle changes encompass a shift to eating healthy foods, the required body exercise that would impact one’s body in terms of maintaining the body mass index. One would imagine the impact that this information would have on my family. Truth be told that it would transform our future generation’s family history and perhaps get rid of the menace.

Modernization has come with its challenges. The consumption of processed foods, lack of body exercise due to nature of work that requires people to sit for long hours, transport utilization, wherefrom the doorstep, one drives to and from his workplace without much opportunities to walk around which helps to a large extent to exercise one’s body. To add to the seriousness of this situation, during this particular time of lack of exercise and these forms of transport, there is heavy consumption of starchy foods, saturated fats, and sugary foods. This makes the situation worse and exposes family members prone to these genetic factors.

Diabetes management information is a critical element in the fight against this disease condition. Type 2 diabetes patients need to be involved in diabetes self-care activities, which greatly boosts glycemic control and prevents other diabetes-related complications such as kidney failure. The diabetes condition management of a patient is domiciled in a family environment. It is therefore important to address issues affecting the family environment with diabetic patients since this is where the disease condition management happens.

Diabetes education should not be limited to only individuals with type 2 diabetes because it doesn’t make the right impact on patients. As a result, my family may play an important role in disease management, therefore family-based approaches to this disease management should be highly regarded. Including family members in these efforts provides support to patients with diabetes, enhances healthy family behaviors, and makes diabetes self-management a reality. A family, therefore, plays an important role that goes a long way into creating the right impact to the patient, because as seen in a patient’s medication with type2 diabetes, there are huge cost implications and frustrations that need to be managed in the broader aspect of a family and not the patient alone.

A patients’ family and friends provide a support base that boosts efforts in overcoming barriers to diabetes self-management. However, behavioral patterns of family members to the contrary, have the potential to be harmful to the patient. The way a family is structured, its beliefs and practices, and problem-solving skills could increase the strain associated with the management of the disease condition. For instance, the lifestyle changes required for better diabetes self-management often contradict certain family routines. Notably, Self-management tasks many times bring changes in the types of food prepared in the home, more time spent away from work so that a family member can accompany the patient to seek medical attention, and allocation of family finances. All these may greatly affect family routines and practices. These changes and the knowledge obtained thereof becomes a critical turning point to the well-being of the patient and the family in the management of the disease condition.

Diabetes management interventions need to concentrate efforts on targeting family members’ by imparting knowledge on positive ways that can influence patient health behaviors. It is for this reason that my knowledge in this research will be shared in the family to advance this agenda. It is two-sided in that family members can also get depressed by their loved one’s disease condition. Families could also have misconceptions on the same, based on a belief that a patient has more information about diabetes than what he or she reports, and that the patient withholds some of the information. Knowledge about type 2 diabetes and the ways to reorganize family routines, which includes better methods that help to cope with the emotional aspects of the disease, are important in the management of the condition, and family members need to understand this fact. Enlightening family members with this information about the care needs of a diabetic patient will largely help to ease this pressure by showing them why such changes are crucial, and what can be done to best implement them.

The paradigm shift over the years due to these changes orchestrated by the acquired knowledge about type 2 diabetes has, and will continue to make a big impact on diabetic patients and their families. The information demonstrates the extent to which a hereditary disease can affect an entire generation’s health and more so if measures are not taken to curb the risks of these genetic factors. It is therefore imperative that this knowledge is shared widely to help all diabetic patients and families in need.


Ahmed .M (2002). History of diabetes mellitus. Saudi Med Journal, 23(4): 373-378

Olokoba & Obateru (2012). Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A review of current trends. Oman Medical Journal, 27(4): 269–273.

Patlak M (2002). New weapons to combat an ancient disease: treating diabetes. FASEB Journal, 16(14):1853.

Yin & Zhongjie (2010). Diabetes: Current views on type 2 diabetes. Journal of Endocrinology, 201(1), 1-11.


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