People whose parents have a long life expectancy are less likely to develop diabetes. This is what emerges from a study a study published on April 11 in the journal Borders of clinical diabetes and health care. “In a new study, we show that children of parents with exceptional longevity, as well as their spouses, have a similar reduced risk of developing type II diabetes compared to the general population”, specifies Iva Miljkovic, professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health, USA, and lead author of this study.
Assuming that “little is known about the risk of type 2 diabetes in the offspring of exceptionally long-lived people”, his work has focused on families in the United States and Denmark whose several members are exceptionally long-lived.
Diabetes: having a long-lived family reduces the risks
To reach their conclusions, the American researchers therefore followed the health of 4559 women and men with a long life span (aged over 90 at the time of registration), 1445 of their brothers and sisters (themselves aged over 80), 2329 children (aged 32 to 88) of people with a long life expectancy or of their brothers and sisters, and of 785 spouses of these children, from 2006 to 2017.
Overall, the authors studied 583 families living in the United States or Denmark of two generations exhibiting “healthy ageing” and an exceptional life expectancy. They then studied which people had type 2 diabetes. The study states that type 2 diabetes “was defined as a fasting blood glucose level ≥ 126 mg/dl, or HbA1c (the percentage of hemoglobin having fixed blood sugar) of ≥ 6.5%, or a diagnosis of self-reported diabetes by a physician, or the use of antidiabetic medications during an average follow-up of one year”.
Type 2 diabetes: 53% less risk in children and their spouses
Result, among the children of people with exceptional longevity and their spouses, they are respectively only 3.7% and 3.8% to have developed type 2 diabetes during the study. This corresponds to a rate of 4.6 to 4.7 new cases of type II diabetes per 1000 people per yearwhich is about 53% lower than the rate seen among people aged 45 to 64 in the general US population. The study therefore demonstrates that being part of a long-lived family, whether by descent or marriage, reduces the risk of developing type II diabetes.
The characteristics that appeared to protect against the development of type II diabetes according to the study were low BMI, low waist circumference, high levels of HDL cholesterol and the hormones adiponectin and sex hormone-binding globulin in the blood, and low levels of triglycerides.
Why are spouses also less at risk?
“We found that pro-inflammatory and growth factor signaling biomarkers seem to have greater positive and negative effects on the risk of diabetes in spouses descendants of exceptional survivors than among these descendants themselves. This suggests that different biological risk factors affect this risk in the two groups,” the study author said. resemble each other in blood biomarkers simply because they share the same household and the same way of life, regardless of their genetic makeup at the beginning of their life? Not necessarily always, warns the author of the study.
According to her, assortative mating is a possible explanation. “It is also possible that people unconsciously tend to choose their mates through what is known as assortative mating, that is, by tending to match their phenotypes and sub-genotypes. underpinnings”, she concludes. For Iva Miljkovic, “further studies are necessary to understand why being married to a long-lived family member also comes with a metabolic health benefit and survival, similar to that of his spouse.”