Are you at Risk for Diabetes?

Are you at Risk for Diabetes?

In 2012, 9.3% of the population had diabetes, which is around 29 million Americans. Experts estimated that as many as 8 million people are not yet diagnosed with diabetes. Considered to have prediabetes, around 86 million people in the U.S. are at risk for developing the condition. Surprising, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in America, and type 2 diabetes is now being diagnosed in may people age 20 years and younger. Find out if you are at risk for developing diabetes.

Risk Factors for Type 1 Diabetes

Many factors increase a person’s risk for diabetes. Regarding type 1 diabetes, risk factors include:

• Family history – Your risk increases if you have a sibling or parent with type 1 diabetes.
• Environmental factors – This includes exposure to a viral illness.
• Damaging immune system cells – Called autoantibodies, damaging immune system cells put a person at risk for type 1 diabetes. However, not everyone with autoantibodies develops diabetes.
• Geography – People in Sweden and Finland have higher rates of type 1 diabetes than people from other countries.
• Dietary factors – These include exposure to cow’s milk early in infancy, low vitamin D consumption, and exposure to cereals before age four months.

Risk Factors for Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes

Some people develop prediabetes and type 2 diabetes whereas other people do not. Researchers do not fully understand this, but known that certain factors increase a person’s risk. These include:

• Inactivity – The less active a person is, the greater he/she is at risk for type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. Physical activity helps control weight, makes body cells more sensitive to insulin, and uses up glucose instead of storing it.
• Race – Blacks, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, and American Indians are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes than other races.
• Family history – As with most diseases, risk for type 2 diabetes and prediabetes increases if you have a family member with either of these conditions.
• Age – As a person gets older, his/her risk for diabetes increases. This is partly due to weight gain and loss of muscle mass. However, type 2 diabetes is also increasing among young children, adolescents, and young adults.
• Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – Women with PCOS are at increased risk for these conditions. PCOS is characterized by excessive hair growth, obesity, and irregular menstrual periods.
• Abnormal triglyceride and/or cholesterol levels – A person with low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is considered “good” cholesterol, is at increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Triglycerides are fats carried in the blood, and if you have elevated blood levels, you are at risk for developing diabetes.

Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes

Pregnant women can develop a condition called gestational diabetes. Certain people are at increased risk, and risk factors include:

• Family or personal history – If you have a close family member (sibling or parent) with type 2 diabetes, you are at increased risk for developing diabetes during pregnancy. In addition, if you had gestational diabetes with a previous pregnancy, or if you delivered a baby nine pounds or larger, you are at a greater risk for gestational diabetes.
• Age – Women age 25 years and older have an increased risk.
• Weight – Being overweight with the pregnancy puts a woman at risk for gestational diabetes.
• Race –Black, Hispanic, Asian, and American Indian women are more likely to develop this type of diabetes.

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