Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

Updated at: Feb 07, 2012
Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

Many conditions or factors pose a risk for type 2 diabetes. Some factors are unavoidable butsome can be managed by proper care. It is a serious health condition which can be brought under control by effective management.

Aparna Mir
DiabetesWritten by: Aparna MirPublished at: Feb 07, 2012

There are many risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Some of them come from the family history and genetics and some can be reversed to prevent type 2 diabetes.

Earlier type 2 diabetes used to mainly develop after the age of 40, but now it’s increasing in younger people and children. Obesity is likely the major factor behind this dramatic growth rate.  There are many risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes. They can be divided into two groups:

Risk factors you can't change

  • Family history- People who have family members diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are at a greater risk for developing it themselves.
  • Age- The risk for getting pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes increases with age especially after age 45. That's probably because people tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as they age. But nowadays type 2 diabetes is quite common among children, adolescents and younger adults.
  • Race and ethnicity- African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders are at higher risk than whites for type 2 diabetes.
  • Low birth weight- People who weighed less than 5.5 lb (2.5 kg) at birth are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
  • Hypertension- It increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Risk factors you can change

  • Obesity- Obesity is the number one risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Excess body fat appears to play a strong role in insulin resistance, but the way the fat is distributed is also significant. Fat deposits around the abdomen and in the upper part of the body make the body resistant against insulin. Staying at a healthy weight can lower your risk.
  • Inactivity- The less active you are, the greater you develop the risk of type 2 diabetes. Physical activity helps to control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
  • Unhealthy Eating Habits- Eating unhealthy food like junk food, snacks and high starchy food increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Too much fat, not enough fiber and too many simple carbohydrates all contribute to a risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Depression- Severe clinical depression can too increase the risk for type 2 diabetes.
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels- Cholesterol levels above 35 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) and triglyceride level over 250 mg/dL increases your risk of type 2 diabetes. It can be maintained by maintaining food habits.

Risk factors only show the probability of type 2 diabetes in any individual. It can be controlled by proper monitoring and by following a healthy lifestyle.


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