Risk Factors for Diabetes: Know Your Chance for Having the Disease
Risk factors for diabetes are factors that may increase your risk for developing certain type of diabetes. As widely known, there are three common types of diabetes. Each occurs at specific point of time. Each type of diabetes also has slightly different risk factors. However, they also have some similarities in common, namely the patient’s body cannot produce insulin or use insulin to process the glucose into fat or energy.
You can prevent diabetes with lifestyle change, such as weight loss and healthy diet. However, once you are diagnosed with diabetes, it will become a lifetime disease. You can also delay the progress by modifying your lifestyles. Some risk factors for diabetes cannot be modified. They include age and gender. However, some others can be modified, such as obesity and diet. The following are risk factors for having diabetes based on the type.
Risk Factors for Diabetes According to the Type
Risk Factors Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes mostly occurs in childhood, even though adults can also have it. The following are the most common risk factors for Type 1 diabetes:
- Family History. If you have relatives with type 1 diabetes, such as father, mother, sisters, or brothers, you are at increased risk for developing it too. Anyone with family history of this disease should have blood test regularly.
- Pancreatic Disease. Type 1 diabetes mostly happens since the patient’s body is unable to produce insulin. Likewise, diseases of the pancreas may lead to inability to make insulin.
- Age. This type of diabetes is most common in child, teen, and young adults.
Studies also found genetics as one of the risk factors for diabetes. In the United States, for instance, type 1 diabetes is more likely to occur in whites than in African Americans or Latino Americans.
Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes
This type of diabetes is also called insulin resistance. The patient’s body makes insulin but is unable to use it. Type 2 diabetes is mostly associated with lifestyle, despite some non-modifiable risks, such as age and genetics. In other words, most of risk factors for type 2 diabetes are modifiable. They include the following:
- Being Overweight or Obese. Excess body weight is the result of sedentary lifestyle. If you have exercise fewer than 3 times a week, or you do not have exercise at all, your risk for developing type 2 diabetes is increasing. Risk factors for diabetes are particularly higher in people who do not have healthy, balanced diet. Studies show that being overweight or obesity is the main cause of diabetes in teenagers and adults.
- Family history. Again, if you are a child of a parent with type 2 diabetes, or if one of your sibling has it, you also have higher risk for developing the same disease.
- Age. People over 45 years are more likely to show symptoms of diabetes. Make sure to conduct simple screening test when you reach 40 years or older.
- Ethnic background. People of Hispanic/Latino Americans, Native Americans, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Alaska natives, and Pacific islanders are know to have increased risk for developing diabetes.
- Certain health conditions. People with certain conditions like impaired glucose tolerance or polycystic ovary syndrome have a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. High blood pressure, high level of LDL cholesterol, history of heart disease, and depression can also increase your risk.
Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes
As discussed in a previous post on the type of diabetes, gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. The disease affects about 4% of pregnant women in the United States. Gestational diabetes resolves after the childbirth, but babies from a mother who has gestational diabetes have increased health risks later in their life. They include growth and development problems. Risk factors for diabetes of his type include:
- Being overweight or obese
- History of gestational diabetes in the previous pregnancy. Women with family history of type 2 diabetes also have higher risk.
- Family history
- The older a woman when she gets pregnant, the higher the risk is.
- Ethnic background. Non-white women are found to have higher risk for gestational diabetes.
How to Manage the Risk Factors for Diabetes
The most important way to manage the risk factors for diabetes is lifestyle changes. If you identify some risk factors associated with age or family history, your only option to prevent, or at least to delay, the diabetes is to have active lifestyle. Make sure to have at least 30 minutes of exercises on most days, eat healthy, balanced diet, and keep normal weight. In addition, check your blood pressure and blood sugar regularly.
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