Family Health History and Diabetes
If you have a mother, father, sister, or brother with diabetes, you are more likely to get diabetes yourself. You are also more likely to have prediabetes. Talk to your doctor about your family health history of diabetes. Your doctor can help you take steps to prevent or delay diabetes, and reverse prediabetes if you have it.
Over 30 million people have diabetes. People with diabetes have levels of blood sugar that are too high. The different types of diabetes include type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Diabetes can cause serious health problems, including heart disease, kidney problems, stroke, blindness, and the need for lower leg amputations.
People with prediabetes have levels of blood sugar that are higher than normal, but not high enough for them to be diagnosed with diabetes. People with prediabetes are more likely to get type 2 diabetes. About 84 million people in the United States have prediabetes, but most of them don’t know they have it. If you have prediabetes, you can take steps to reverse it and prevent or delay diabetes—but not if you don’t know that you have it. Could you have prediabetes? Take this test to find out.
If you have a family health history of diabetes, you are more likely to have prediabetes and develop diabetes. You are also more likely to get type 2 diabetes if you have had gestational diabetes, are overweight or obese, or are African American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or Hispanic. Learning about your family health history of diabetes is an important step in finding out if you have prediabetes and knowing if you are more likely to get diabetes. You can use the Surgeon General’s family health history tool, My Family Health Portrait, to collect your family health history of diabetes and find out your risk of getting diabetes. Be sure to let your doctor know about your family health history of diabetes, especially if you have a mother, father, sister, or brother with diabetes. Your doctor might recommend that you have screening for diabetes earlier.
Even if you have a family health history of diabetes, you can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by eating healthier, being physically active, and maintaining or reaching a healthy weight. This is especially important if you have prediabetes, and taking these steps can reverse prediabetes.
Does your mom, dad, sister, or brother have type 2 diabetes?
If so, you could have prediabetes and are more likely to get type 2 diabetes yourself. But there are important steps you can take to prevent type 2 diabetes and reverse prediabetes if you have it.
- Take this test to find out if you could have prediabetes.
- Ask your doctor whether you need earlier screening for diabetes.
- Learn more about how to prevent type 2 diabetes:
- National Diabetes Prevention Program: Find out more about the lifestyle change program and how to find a program near you.
- National Diabetes Education Program: Find tip sheets and tools on preventing type 2 diabetes.
- Reverse Prediabetes: Find out more about joining a diabetes prevention program and learn lifestyle tips for managing your weight, exercising, eating healthy, and quitting smoking to help reverse prediabetes and prevent type 2 diabetes.
- Take the Family Health History Quiz to learn more about family health history and diabetes, and learn how to prevent type 2 diabetes.
- Page last reviewed: November 8, 2017
- Page last updated: November 8, 2017
- Content source:
- Office of Public Health Genomics
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs