Diabetes in China: Epidemiology and Genetic Risk Factors and Their Clinical Utility in Personalized Medication

The incidence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) has rapidly increased over recent decades, and T2D has become a leading public health challenge in China. Compared with European descents, Chinese patients with T2D are diagnosed at a relatively young age and low BMI. A better understanding of the factors contributing to the diabetes epidemic is crucial for determining future prevention and intervention programs. In addition to environmental factors, genetic factors contribute substantially to the development of T2D. To date, more than 100 susceptibility loci for T2D have been identified. Individually, most T2D genetic variants have a small effect size (10–20% increased risk for T2D per risk allele); however, a genetic risk score that combines multiple T2D loci could be used to predict the risk of T2D and to identify individuals who are at a high risk. Furthermore, individualized antidiabetes treatment should be a top priority to prevent complications and mortality. In this article, we review the epidemiological trends and recent progress in the understanding of T2D genetic etiology and further discuss personalized medicine involved in the treatment of T2D.