The Main Risk Factors for Diabetes

Diabetes Risk FactorsAccording to the National Diabetes Statistics Report from 2014, 9.3 percent of the entire population in the United States has diabetes. That’s over 29 million people in the country, both diagnosed and undiagnosed, with diabetes.

Having type 2 diabetes means your body isn’t using insulin the way it should. This is called insulin resistance, and to combat it, your pancreas makes extra insulin. However, over time the pancreas will no longer be able to keep up; it will not be able to produce the amount of insulin your body requires to keep blood glucose at the right levels.

Who is Most at Risk for Diabetes?

It’s important to know some of the main diabetes risk factors to know if there’s a possibility you could develop the disease. Getting the proper diagnosis early, along with making certain lifestyle changes, can help reduce your risk and avoid the complications that come with type 2 diabetes.

Some of main risk factors for developing diabetes include:

Family History: If diabetes runs in your family, and you had a parent or sibling who had type 2 diabetes, your risk increases.

Being Overweight: If you’re overweight, especially around your waist, you are more at risk for diabetes. The extra fatty tissue makes your cells more resistant to insulin.

Level of Activity: Your risk for type 2 diabetes increases the less active you are. It’s never too late to start adding exercise to your daily routine to help control your weight. Plus, physical activity uses up glucose as energy, making your cells more sensitive to insulin.

Age: Those over the age of 45 are more at risk for diabetes, and the risk increases the older you get. This could be due to the fact that you become less active as you age, losing muscle mass and gaining more weight.

Race: While it’s not clear why, diabetes is more common among African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans.

High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is linked to an increased risk for diabetes, especially when blood pressure is over 140/90 mm Hg.

Prediabetes: When your blood sugar levels are above normal, but you don’t yet have diabetes, this means you have prediabetes. Making lifestyle changes like increasing exercise and altering your diet can help avoid prediabetes turning into type 2 diabetes.

Low Good Cholesterol Level/High Triglyceride Level: If your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is lower than it should be, your risk for type 2 diabetes increases. Triglycerides are another type of fat carried in the blood, and if triglyceride levels are high, you’re also more at risk.

Gestational Diabetes: If you had gestational diabetes during pregnancy, or delivered a baby over nine pounds, you are more likely to get diabetes in the future.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition in women that is characterized by irregular menstrual periods, obesity and hair growth, and has been known to increase the risk for type 2 diabetes.

It’s important to visit your doctor regularly, especially if you’ve been experiencing any of the signs of diabetes, like sudden weight gain, increased feelings of thirst and tiredness, increased urination, pain or numbing in your legs and feet, blurry vision, etc. Your doctor can assess your risk for diabetes and create a plan to keep you in the best health possible.

American Senior Communities offers a variety of senior health services throughout our locations. Contact us today to request more information.

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