Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Type 2 Diabetes Gene Ups Risk by 80%

Good News: Lifestyle Changes Slash Risk Related to Gene
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

July 19, 2006 -- A gene linked to type 2 diabetesdiabetes ups the risk of developing the disease by 80% -- but a person can greatly reduce that risk through diet and lifestyle change.

The diabetes drug Glucophage also reduces the genetic risk of type 2 diabetes, but to a lesser extent.

Those findings come from a study looking at ways to prevent diabetes in people whose high blood sugar levels put them at risk of the disease.

Massachusetts General Hospital researcher Jose C. Florez, MD, PhD, and colleagues did genetic tests on 3,548 study participants. They looked for TCF7L2 gene variants recently linked to type 2 diabetes.

Their findings:

  • One in 10 of those with high blood sugar had two copies of the diabetes genes. Four in 10 had one copy.
  • Study participants with two copies of the diabetes gene had an 81% increased risk of type 2 diabetes over three years.
  • Increased risk of diabetes was only 15% if those with two copies of the diabetes genes lost 5% to 7% of their body weight and exercised 30 minutes, five days a week.
  • Taking Glucophage reduced the risk in those with two copies of the diabetes genes to 62%.

"Even the participants at highest genetic risk benefited from healthy lifestyle changes as much as, or perhaps more than, those who did not inherit the variant," Florez said in a news release. "People at risk of diabetes, whether they're overweight, have elevated blood glucose levels, or have this particular gene variant, can benefit greatly by implementing a healthy lifestyle."

One reason people in this study had such success with lifestyle change is that they got help from a dietitian and a lifestyle coach.

The findings appear in the July 20 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner