Diabetes risk factors

Diabetes risk factors are the same for all types of diabetes as all types share the same characteristic which is the body’s inability to make or use insulin.

Diabetes risk factors are the same for all types of diabetes as all types share the same characteristic which is the body’s inability to make or use insulin.

The human body uses insulin to use glucose from the food that is eaten, for energy. Without the proper amount of insulin, glucose stays in the body and creates too much blood sugar. Eventually this excess blood sugar causes damage to kidneys, nerves, heart, eyes and other organs.

Type 1 diabetes which usually starts in childhood is caused because the pancreas stops producing any insulin. The main risk for type 1 diabetes is a family history of this lifelong disease.

Type 2 diabetes starts when the body can not use the insulin that is produced. Type 2 diabetes typically begins in adulthood but can start anytime in life. With the current increase in obesity among children in the United States, this type of diabetes is increasedly starting in teenagers. Type 2 diabetes used to be known as adult onset diabetes but because of this earlier start, the name was changed to type 2.

The main risk of type 2 diabetes is being obese or overweight and is the best predictor. Prediabetes is also a major risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is a milder form of diabetes and is often referred to as “impaired glucose tolerance” and can be diagnosed with a blood test.

Certain ethnic groups are at a greater risk for developing diabetes. These include Hispanic/Latino Americans, African-Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders and Alaska natives.
High blood pressure is another major risk factor for diabetes as well as low levels of HDL or good cholesterol and high triglyceride levels.

For women, if they developed diabetes when pregnant ((history of gestational diabetes) puts them at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes in later life.

A sedentary lifestyle or being inactive by not exercising also makes a person at risk for diabetes.

Another risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes is having a family history of diabetes. If you have a parent, or brother or sister who has diabetes increases the risk.

Age is another risk factor and anyone over 45 years of age is advised to be tested for diabetes. Increasing age often brings with it a more sedate lifestyle and this brings on the greater risk.

Whatever your risk factors for diabetes may be, there are things that you can do to delay or prevent diabetes. To manage your risk of diabetes, a person should manage their blood pressure, keep weight near normal range, get moderate exercise at least three times a week and eat a balanced diet.

Diabetes risk factors are the same for all types of diabetes as all types share the same characteristic which is the body’s inability to make or use insulin.