9 Diabetes Risk Factors to be aware of
Type 2 Diabetes affects over 18 million Americans; this is a huge number that continues to increase, as diabetes becomes an epidemic of this day and age. A larger number of Americans are also affected with pre-diabetes, a condition that can easily turn into full-blown diabetes if not properly controlled. Diabetes does not only affect the United States but it also a common disease that affects people from different parts of the globe.
Diabetes commonly occurs in middle-aged to older adults since it is an adult-onset type of disease. However, more and more cases of children and adolescents who are overweight and living a sedentary lifestyle develop diabetes at an earlier age.
The following are 9 major risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes:
1. Age is a risk factor for diabetes. Unfortunately, statistics show that one in five people aged 65 and older have diabetes. Adults aged 45 years and older also have an increased risk of diabetes.
2. Body weight is a serious risk factor for diabetes. Individuals who are overweight, or who have a BMI index that is greater than 25 have a higher risk of diabetes at some point in their lives. More than eighty percent of those diagnosed with diabetes are overweight.
3. Excess fat in the stomach area. Even if you are generally not considered overweight, excess fat in the stomach area is linked to the body’s resistance to insulin, thus an increased risk of diabetes. Men who have the waist circumference greater than 40 inches and women who have the waist circumference greater than 35 inches have excess fat in their stomach area and have increased risks.
4. Genetics and family history. If your family has a history of diabetes then there is also a high chance that you might develop the disease too. The risk factor increases the closer your relation to the family member with diabetes is.
5. Ethnicity is a factor. Your ethnic background is also a factor that affects your chances of diabetes. American Indians, African Americans, Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and Asian Americans are two and half times more prone to acquiring diabetes than Caucasians.
6. Gestational Diabetes. Mothers who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes also increase their risk of diabetes in the future. Mothers who had gestational diabetes tend to give birth to larger babies, sometimes weighing more than nine pounds. This diabetic condition occurs during the latter stages of pregnancy and goes away after birth.
7. Low levels of good cholesterol and triglycerides. Low levels of HDL (35 or lower) or low triglyceride levels (150 or higher) indicate that the body does not properly respond to insulin. This condition is known as insulin resistance, which increases the risks of diabetes.
8. High blood pressure. If your blood pressure is 140/90 or even higher, you have an increased risk of diabetes. Having high blood pressure is closely linked to insulin resistance.
9. Low activity and sedentary lifestyle. Living a sedentary lifestyle will also increase your chances of diabetes as it impairs the natural ability of the cells in your body to remove sugar present in your blood. Not being able to regularly exercise at least three times a week is considered a sedentary lifestyle.
Another risk factor for diabetes is if you already have pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes occurs when your body starts either producing less insulin or cannot effectively use produced insulin to transport glucose. Although pre-diabetes is reversible, without proper measures it will with time develop into full-blown diabetes. While no one knows what exactly causes pre-diabetes, it is evident that there are certain risk factors that are present in most cases of pre-diabetes occurrence. Such risk factors are being overweight, sedentary lifestyle and not enough exercise, being over 45 years old and having gestational diabetes.
Pre-diabetes usually has no tell-tale symptoms. A person with pre-diabetes may be hungry a lot of the times but still be losing weight instead of gaining. Another possible sign is increased thirst and increased urination. However, a majority of individuals who have pre-diabetes are not aware of their condition. Often that condition is left unchecked and they will likely develop full-blown Type 2 Diabetes. If you have pre-diabetes, it is important to take the necessary actions as soon as possible as it can be prevented. The following signs might help you determine whether you at risk of pre-diabetes or diabetes:
- Being overweight or obese
- Feeling numbness in your legs or feet
- Itching on your genital area
- Blurred vision
- Development of heart disease
- Slow regeneration of damaged skin and gums
- Urinary infections
- Frequent feeling of thirst and the need to urinate
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is advised that you get yourself checked to be sure. Even though these symptoms may be indicative of other conditions, it really doesn’t hurt to make sure. If you find out about your condition early enough, you will be able to take immediate and effective action to control pre-diabetes and find the best lifestyle modifications for you to be able to reverse it.