Born This Way

“I’m on the right track baby I was born this way…” whoever writes Lady Gaga’s music for her.

Genetics is a fascinating and growing field these days. Our genes make up who we are, after all.

I think many people are familiar with the Dominant and Recessive gene idea (see Mendel’s pea plants). Basically the super-simple-speedy explanation is that when two people make a baby, what they’re really doing is exchanging information. Genes are the blueprints for life and both people have their own copy of each gene.

Through a series of complicated pairings and crossing overs, certain amounts of mom’s genes and dad’s genes are smooshed together to make… a baby!

Let’s say a human is as simple as a pea plant. If mom is short, and dad is short (and their predecessors were also all short) you, as the baby will be short. If mom is tall and dad is short, it’s kind of a crap shoot as to how you’ll turn out depending on each parents ancestors. But to simplify things, you will be tall because tall  is Dominant over shorty-pie dad.

That basic overview was meant to prepare you for discussion! Now, for a quiz:

Diabetes is:

a. passed genetically

b. only attributable to environmental factors

c. both

d. a gift from heaven to differentiate you from mere mortals

And now for the answer… Drumroll…

Yeah, well it depends on what version of diabetes you have. Usually, the answer is C.

Type Two or adult onset diabetes is considered genetic. There are genetic factors that influence obesity which is a major player in TTD. After reaching the point of obesity, your body can become insulin resistant (meaning it’s still being made, but not used) making you diabetic. There are other factors as well, not only obese people have TTD. You can be genetically predisposed to High Blood Pressure which makes you more susceptible to TTD. You get the idea. That’s not to say that people without a family history of diabetes cannot get TTD. If you’re healthy but don’t care about what you eat, you can just as easily McDonald’s your way to some diabetic fun.

TOD, or Type One Diabetes, sort of follows the same pattern. Typically diabetes itself is not “passed” but if your parent’s genes mix in just the right way, it will make you more likely to get infection (or something) which could lead to diabetes. That’s how I got it! That’s how my friend Kelsey got it too. Genetically, we were lucky enough to be prone to infection and some BAD infection (me chicken pox, her pneumonia) killed off our pancre-i and left us with TOD. It would be very difficult to shut down a pancreas with environmental factors, usually those factors will give you pancreatic cancer or pancreatitis instead of the ‘betes. (I’m not linking to either of those things, don’t look them up)

Hopefully that happy pancreas will cheer you up!

So parents don’t blame yourselves and kids don’t blame your parents. They just loved each other (or you know) and had a kid. You can’t plan where your genes are going to go. Maybe someday you could, but for now you were just Born This Way.

The real quiz answer, C. The quiz answer I think is true, D.

I’m pretty sure the heroes of Greek mythology all suffer through life, but they are the heroes and always win at the end. Be patient and remember “baby you were born this way.”

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6 Comments

Filed under How to: get diabetes.

6 responses to “Born This Way

  1. Rof

    Wow! What a beautiful explanation and statement of purpose! That is some awfully mature thinking which should help many.

    Did you ever think about writing for a living? The best writers are clear thinkers. After reading this, I think you can see for “miles and miles.”

  2. Trudy

    You were born just right….

  3. Jessie

    Hahaha! I love the technical term “smooshed”! It’s the best!

  4. Pingback: Blame it on the Alcohol | diabetiquette

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