When it comes to prevention, it is necessary to stop and pay attention to the presence of certain factors that might be easily overlooked. There are many of these factors, but the five most common signs that you are at risk for Type 2 Diabetes are the following:
Sign #1: You are overweight or obese
People whose body mass index (BMI) is greater than 25 are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. In fact, 89% of people with Type 2 Diabetes are overweight or obese. This is due to the fact that excessive fatty tissue plays a central role in insulin sensitivity, and large amounts of fatty tissue favor an insulin-resistant state (learn more about what "insulin resistance" is here!). In addition, a lifestyle that includes a combination of foods high in carbohydrates, sugars, and fats—combined with a lack of regular physical activity—is another factor that is directly associated with a high risk for Type 2 Diabetes.
Sign #2: You have immediate family members with Type 2 Diabetes
This sign is less common, but is just as important—especially when combined with the other factors listed here. Your immediate family members include your mother, father, and siblings. If any of these members of your family have Type 2 Diabetes, your risk of developing the disease is increased. That's because there are some genetic links to Type 2 Diabetes -- read more about the genetic research on Type 2 Diabetes on Caretalk.
Sign #3: Your risk for Type 2 Diabetes depends on your age, race, and ethnicity
The number of Type 2 Diabetes cases increases after the age of 45 years, so from then on, yearly screening is recommended. Additionally, the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes appears to be higher in African American, Latino, Native American, Asian American, and Pacific Islander populations. (Editor's note: check out Caretalk's data visualizations that summarize some statistics about Type 2 Diabetes for more information.)
Sign #4: You have other pre-existing conditions
Several other diseases can cause someone to be more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes. Some of these conditions and complications include hypertension, polycystic ovary syndrome, and whether a woman had gestational diabetes while pregnant.
Sign #5: Other social and lifestyle factors
Factors such as food availability, homelessness, family support, and smoking habits—while less well known—may also increase an individual's risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes. However, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risks!
All of these factors may lead to an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Recognizing these factors and actively looking for them in ourselves or our family members can lead us to take actions to lower our risk.