Is diabetes hereditary?

Is diabetes hereditary from father or mother? Do you want to know and understand the cause of this disease and the risks? For example, because you are pregnant or would like to become pregnant? Or does your partner have diabetes, and what does that mean? Maybe your parents or another family member have hereditary diabetes? The type of diabetes determines the chance that you will pass it on to your children, type I or type II. Planning and guidance are also important factors. Under good guidance and regulation, there appears to be no reason to abandon a pregnancy. So is diabetes a hereditary disease and does a pill help against diabetes?

Diabetes hereditary or not?

It is common to divide diabetes into two types, type 1 and type 2. The comment ‘I have diabetes’ does not say much. Diabetes mellitus type I occurs when your pancreas does not produce insulin for your body. In Diabetes II, the pancreas produces too little insulin and the body does not respond sufficiently to insulin. Type II is more common in older people and is therefore also called adult-onset diabetes. And to immediately answer the question:

  • Even if diabetes is transmitted, diabetes usually requires a combination of hereditary and environmental factors to activate the disease. Those who are susceptible to this disease can, for example, develop diabetes due to a viral infection. There is an increased predisposition.
  • Type 2 diabetes also depends on both environmental factors and heredity. You inherit the predisposition, but that does not mean that you will develop diabetes later. A healthier lifestyle and avoiding obesity in particular reduce the risk.

The tables below say a lot about inheriting the predisposition to develop diabetes, but that does not mean that you will actually develop the disease (Source: Diabetes Fund):

Table 1. The chance of inheriting type 1 diabetes:

Who in the family has diabetes 1?

your risk of diabetes 1

Your father or mother


Both your parents

20- 40%

Nephew or niece


Your identical twin brother or twin sister


Table 2. The chance of inheriting type 2 diabetes:

Who in the family has diabetes 2?

your risk of diabetes 2

Your brother or sister


Your father or mother


Both your parents

20- 40%

Two or more of your parents or siblings


Your identical twin brother or twin sister


Pregnancy and you yourself have diabetes

If you become pregnant, you may develop another type of diabetes, gestational diabetes. This occurs suddenly during pregnancy, even if you had no problems before. If you already have diabetes during pregnancy, it is advisable to contact a doctor immediately and ensure proper guidance. The same applies to gestational diabetes, but it is difficult to predict. We do know that if you have had gestational diabetes before, there is a good chance that you will develop it again during a new pregnancy. This will go away after your pregnancy. What is new is a pill that works on the kidneys. The pill ensures that excess sugar is excreted.

Finally, diabetes and heredity: is diabetes a hereditary disease or not?

Good guidance and regulation of your blood sugar is important in all cases. Furthermore, type I diabetes can be associated with damage to the placenta, which requires additional measures. It is also known that both types of diabetes increase the risk of a heavier child (macrosomia) with an increased risk of obesity. Concerning doctors will guide you and closely monitor the growth of the child. All in all, the combination of diabetes and pregnancy requires good guidance both before and during pregnancy. Because diabetes can be associated with more ailments as one gets older, it is recommended not to wait longer than necessary to become pregnant to further limit the risks of complications.