Diabetes Forecast

Causes and Effects

By Sara Sklaroff, Editorial Director ,

Why did you get diabetes? You may never know for sure. That's because diabetes has its roots in a complicated variety of factors, many of which were determined before you were even born.

That's right: Whether it's type 1 or type 2, both genes and the environment play a role in whether a person gets diabetes or not. Which I suppose is both comforting and infuriating: It's not your fault that you got it, but it also shows that life can be deeply unfair.

Figuring out why some people get diabetes—and why others don't, despite having risk factors for it—is leading researchers in interesting directions. In this month's cover story "Why Me?", Associate Editor Erika Gebel writes about what science can tell us thus far about the origins of diabetes. Dozens of genes have already been implicated, and there is intriguing speculation about the triggers for both type 1 and type 2.

It's heartening to learn how much scientific work is being done in this area. While this research may do nothing about the fact that you and I already have diabetes, it may lead to new treatments, and prevention strategies, as medical understanding increases.

Best of all, finding out more about what causes diabetes may, if we're lucky, eventually produce a cure. Then no one will have to ask "Why Me?" again.



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