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Type 2 Diabetes - What Increases Your Risk

Risk factors you can't change include:1

  • Family history. If you have a parent, brother, or sister who has type 2 diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing the disease.
  • Age. The risk for getting prediabetes and type 2 diabetes increases with age. And the number of children being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is increasing. Usually, children who get type 2 diabetes have a family history of the disease, are overweight, and are physically inactive.
  • Race and ethnicity. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders are at higher risk than whites for type 2 diabetes.
  • History of gestational diabetes or having a baby weighing more than 9 lb (4 kg). Women who have had gestational diabetes or who have had a large baby are at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
  • Low birth weight. People who weighed less than 5.5 lb (2.5 kg) at birth are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

Risk factors you can change include:

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  • Being overweight. Staying at a healthy weight can lower your risk.
  • Not getting enough exercise. Being active may help your body control blood sugar levels.
  • Eating a diet that isn't healthy. Making healthy food choices is important to avoid diabetes.

Other health problems can put you at risk for type 2 diabetes. These are also linked to obesity and a lack of physical activity:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormone imbalance that interferes with normal ovulation.
  • Metabolic syndrome, a group of abnormal physical findings related to the body's metabolism.
  • Prediabetes. Having prediabetes means that you are at risk for type 2 diabetes. It's important to get treatment. If your fasting blood sugar levels are in the range from 100 mg/dL to 125 mg/dL, you are at increased risk for type 2 diabetes.1

If you're worried

To see whether you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, see the website www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/prevention/diabetes-risk-test. If you are at risk, you can discuss with your doctor how to make healthy changes in your life.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: January 24, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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