Typically, there are three common types of diabetes – Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.
In Type 1 diabetes, the immune system of the body attacks the cells that make insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. In Type 2 diabetes, the body produces insulin but fails to do its job. In both cases, the blood glucose levels go up, called hyperglycemia.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. Recent studies have found that diabetes in one family member is associated with diabetes in other family members. It is linked to future diabetes in the mothers who were affected and to their partners as well as children.
Studies have shown that many mothers who had a history of gestational diabetes develop Type 2 diabetes in the decade after pregnancy.
Researchers have found that if the mother had diabetes during pregnancy, the father was 20 percent more likely to have Type 2 diabetes in the decade after pregnancy. And if the mother had gestational diabetes as well as gestational hypertension (high blood pressure), the father was 80 percent more likely to have type 2 diabetes in a decade or so after pregnancy.
The researchers think that couples often share eating habits, physical activity, and weight patterns, which is why they are believed to share diabetes risk. They also think couples should share in the efforts to improve their lifestyle in order to prevent diabetes in the future.
However, the researchers said that it is unclear why there is an association between gestational diabetes and type 1 diabetes in younger children. They think that gestational diabetes is a family affair.
Although rare, Type 1 diabetes might be diagnosed earlier in children and adolescents, with an awareness of the link to the mother’s gestational diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by eating more home-cooked foods, fruits, and vegetables, and by reducing processed and fried foods, along with being physically active.