Top Risk Factors for Diabetes

One of every four people with diabetes doesn’t even know they have it. Could you be one of them? Here’s how to see if your risk of having diabetes is high.

There are 3 types:

Type 1

This variant of diabetes usually starts in childhood when your pancreas stops making insulin. You then develop type 1 diabetes for life. The main reasons behind it are:

Family history: If you have any relatives with diabetes, chances are you’ll probably get it too. Anyone with a mother, father, or sibling with type 1 diabetes should get checked out. A simple blood test can help diagnose it.

Pancreas diseases: Any disease of the pancreas can slow down its ability to make insulin.

Infection or illness: Specific infections and illnesses, mostly rare, can damage your pancreas.

Type 2

If you develop this kind of diabetes, your body can’t use the insulin that it makes. This is known as insulin resistance and usually affects adults, but it can start at any time in your life. The main reasons behind it are:

Obesity: Research has shown that this is a top reason for type 2 diabetes. The upsurge in childhood obesity in the U.S. has resulted in type 2 diabetes affecting more teenagers.

Low glucose tolerance: Prediabetes is a mild form of this condition and can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. If you have it, then there’s a strong chance you’ll get type 2 diabetes in the future, unless you take steps to change your lifestyle.

Insulin resistance: This type of diabetes often starts with cells resistant to insulin, which means your pancreas has to work much extra hard to make enough insulin to meet your body’s constant needs.

Gestational Diabetes

If you developed diabetes while you were pregnant, you had gestational diabetes, which raises your chances of getting type 2 diabetes later on in life. Some reasons include:

Sedentary lifestyle: You exercise fewer than three times a week.

Family history: You have a close family member such as a parent or sibling who has diabetes.

Age: If you’re over 45 and are overweight, or if you feel like you have symptoms of diabetes, speak to your doctor about a simple screening test.

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