Are You at Risk for Diabetes? 11 Risk Factors to Consider


Are you at risk for diabetes? Right now an estimated 30 million people in the United States are living with type 2 diabetes. 

Left unchecked, it’s a recipe for vision loss, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, poor circulation, amputations, and early death.

The good news...It’s largely preventable with a healthy diet, exercise, and smart lifestyle habits. 

But here’s the thing. An estimated 84 million people have prediabetes, and it doesn’t have to be that way. Wondering if you’re at risk for type 2 diabetes? Here are 11 risk factors to consider. You’re at risk for type 2 diabetes if:

  1. A simple blood test shows you have elevated or high levels of glucose. Prediabetes = 100 to 125 mg/dL, Diabetes = Higher than 126 mg/dL. Normal = less than 100.
  1. You have a family history of diabetes. If one or both of your parents have type 2 diabetes, your risk is higher.
  1. You’re over 45. Risk for diabetes goes up with age. An estimated 42 percent of all adults age 45 or older have type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  1. Your race or ethnicity includes: African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian-American, or Pacific Islander.
  1. Your diet and exercise habits are poor. If you eat a lot of fast food, processed meals, junk food, sugary drinks, and refined carbohydrates, your risk for diabetes goes up. If you’re sedentary, you’re also at risk for diabetes. Want to eat healthier? Check out these options.
  1. You’re overweight or obese. Here’s the truth. About 72 percent of all adults in the US are overweight or obese. If your Body Mass Index is above 25, you’re overweight. If your BMI is 30 or higher, you’re obese. It’s a major risk factor for developing diabetes and other chronic conditions.
  1. You have a history of health problems. Certain health conditions are an indicator of diabetes risk. These include polycystic ovary syndrome, sleep disorders, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy are also at risk for type 2 diabetes.
  1. You’re thirsty all the time and going to the bathroom more. This can be an indicator that glucose isn’t entering the cells because the pancreas isn’t functioning properly.
  1. You’re feeling tired and fatigued. It can be a result of losing excess glucose by going to the bathroom a lot.
  1. Your vision changes. Blurry vision can be an indicator of diabetes. It can cause fluid to leak into the lens of the eye, swelling, and blurred vision.
  1. You develop darkened skin spots. It’s a condition called acanthosis nigricans. And it tends to show up first in the neck, armpits, and folds of the skin when people develop diabetes.

So how do you prevent type 2 diabetes, or manage your health if you already have it?

Eat healthy foods. Check out the selection of meals made from fresh ingredients here. Maintain a healthy weight, or lose weight if you need to. Don’t smoke, or quit if you do.Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. And aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.