Diabetes Risk Factors

While diabetes risk factors can alert you to potential problems, they are simply signs – like your cars warning light – that tell you that you MIGHT have a problem. Sometimes the warning light is correct and you need to take the car to the shop and have it diagnosed and then repaired. The doctor will rely on detailed test to help diagnose your problem, so you can both make the repairs to your body.

You may not ever develop diabetes if you have the following symptoms. These are simply warning signs that you might have a serious disease – see your doctor to run the proper tests! You should also look over the list of complications, as identifying one of these might lead the doctor to dig further.

Here is a list of specific diabetes risk factors and questions to ask yourself; review these with your doctor. Follow up with a doctor for specific medical tests like a complete set of blood work, if you have 3 or more of the following diabetes risk factors.

-Does anyone in your family have a history of diabetes? If a blood relative has diabetes, then your chances for type 2 diabetes increases.

-History of gestational diabetes? If you got diabetes during a pregnancy or had a baby over 9 lbs. birth weight, then your risk is higher.

-Do you have insulin resistance (Metabolic syndrome)? Your insulin levels may be high, but yet you are gaining weight and feeling sluggish. Talk to your doctor.

-Are you over 45 years old? The chance of developing type 2 diabetes increases as we get older.

-What is your ethnic background? The risk of type 2 diabetes is higher in Hispanics, African-Americans, Native Americans, and Asians.

-Hypertension? Increased blood pressure is sign that is linked to a higher risk.

-Overweight? Is your BMI (body mass index) over 25? What about your waist to hip ratio? Some studies suggest that you increase your risk 2 to 3 times by being overweight.

-Cholesterol levels out of whack? If your HDL ("good") cholesterol levels are below 35 mg/dL and/or a triglyceride level is above 250 mg/dL, you have a greater chance of developing the disease.

-Are you inactive or sedentary? This factor alone will generally cause insulin resistance over time and can lead to full blown diabetes.