Family History of Hypertension Leads to Early Diabetes Onset

High blood pressure can cause insulin resistance, which is associated with an increased diabetes risk.

Although many risk factors associated with the development of type 2 diabetes are well-known, a new study suggests that a family history of hypertension may speed the onset of diabetes.

Genetics play a key role in the risk and development of multiple diseases, including diabetes. Understanding the risk of developing diabetes allows individuals to modify lifestyle behaviors to ensure they avoid diabetes and costly complications, such as retinopathy, cardiovascular events, and renal failure.

High blood pressure can cause insulin resistance, even when kept within the high normal range, which is associated with an increased risk of diabetes. The study, published by the Endocrine Journal, suggests that not only does a family history of hypertension increase the risk for diabetes, but it also speeds onset of the disease.

The study authors explored the effects of family history of hypertension on diabetes onset by examining the age at diagnosis. Included in the study were 1299 patients with a family history of hypertension who were diagnosed with diabetes and registered in the National Center Diabetes Database.

Information regarding family history of hypertension and diabetes, age at diagnosis, and self-reported weight at age 20 was gathered by the authors. Patients were grouped by family history of hypertension.

The authors discovered that patients with a family history were diagnosed with diabetes at a younger age compared with those without a family history of hypertension.

“The patient age at the time of the diagnosis of diabetes was lower in the group with a positive family history of hypertension than in the group with a negative family history of diabetes,” the authors wrote. “In the group with a positive family history of hypertension, the proportion of patients with a positive family history of diabetes were larger than those in the group with a negative family history of hypertension.”

Patients with a positive family history of diabetes were typically diagnosed at an average age of 48.9, while the other cohort was diagnosed at an average age of 52.2, according to the study. Additionally, men were also more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes earlier than women.

A multivariable linear regression analysis indicated that family history of hypertension or diabetes, sex, and age at diagnosis all significantly affected the age of diabetes diagnosis, according to the study.

These results suggest that a family history of hypertension could influence the speed of diabetes onset. These patients should fully understand their genetic risks and adopt a healthy diet and exercise regimen to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

“In conclusion, the findings of the present retrospective cohort study suggest that a positive family history of hypertension might be associated with an accelerated onset of type 2 diabetes,” the authors wrote. “Subjects with a family history of hypertension should be informed of their personal risk at an early age accompanied by information on preventive health behaviors to reduce their chances of ever developing type 2 diabetes."