Family Health History Quiz

Family health history is an important risk factor for developing a number of serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes. In fact, most people with type 2 diabetes have a family member - such as a mother, father, brother, or sister - with the disease.

The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) encourages all families to take advantage of family gatherings to share information about their health history - especially when it comes to diabetes.

Knowing your family health history is important because it gives you and your health care team information about your risk for type 2 diabetes and other health problems.

Four Questions You Should Ask Your Family About Diabetes & Family Health History

Knowing your family health history is important. Here are some questions to help you learn more about your family history of diabetes.

  • Does anyone in the family have type 2 diabetes? Who has type 2 diabetes?
  • Has anyone in the family been told they might get diabetes?
  • Has anyone in the family been told they need to lower their weight or increase their physical activity to prevent type 2 diabetes?
  • Did your mother get diabetes when she was pregnant? This is also known as gestational diabetes (GDM).

If the answer to any of these is yes, or you have a mother, father, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes, you may be at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

True or false? If my parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes, I am at an increased risk to develop type 2 diabetes.

True - A family history of type 2 diabetes is a strong risk factor for the disease. If you have a mother, father, brother, or sister with diabetes, you are at risk for type 2 diabetes. But even if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes, there are many things you can do to lower your risk. If you’re overweight, losing five to seven percent of your body weight (for example, 10 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds) by exercising 30 minutes a day, five days a week and making healthy food choices can help to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

True or false? My mother has been told by her health care team that she is at high risk for diabetes, or that she has prediabetes, so she will get diabetes very soon.

False - Studies have shown that people at high risk for diabetes or with prediabetes can turn back the clock to delay or even prevent a diagnosis of diabetes by losing five to seven percent of your body weight if overweight (for example, 10 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds). You and your family can lose a modest amount of weight through simple lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity to about 30 minutes a day, five days a week and making healthy food choices. For some people with prediabetes, intervening early can actually return elevated blood glucose (also called blood sugar) levels to the normal range.

True or false? Type 2 diabetes runs in my family, so there is nothing I can do to prevent getting the disease.

False - Even though a family history of type 2 diabetes is a strong risk factor for developing the disease, some of this risk is a result of lifestyle. Being overweight, making unhealthy food choices, and not getting enough exercise can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. If you are overweight, losing five to seven percent of your body weight (for example, 10 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds) by making healthy food choices and increasing physical activity to about 30 minutes a day, five days a week can help lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. Adopting healthy habits as an individual or as a family is good for everyone.

True or false? My mother was diagnosed with diabetes when she was pregnant with me so she and I are both at an increased risk for developing diabetes.

True - When a woman gets diabetes during pregnancy, called gestational diabetes, she is at an increased risk for developing diabetes for the rest of her life. Additionally, her child is at an increased risk for becoming obese and for developing type 2 diabetes for the rest of his or her life. But there are many ways to lower this risk for both mother and child.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the support of more than 200 partner organizations.

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This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.