Type 2 diabetes is a serious and chronic health condition that is extremely common. More than 30 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, and more than 90% of those diagnosed with the condition have type 2 diabetes.
A person with type 2 diabetes has developed insulin resistance. His or her body does not respond appropriately to the insulin he or she makes, which increases blood sugar levels over time.
There are a variety of risk factors that make some individuals more likely to become insulin resistant than others. Here are seven risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes:
If you are overweight or obese, your chances of developing type 2 diabetes are increased. Losing 5 percent of your body weight—and incorporating 150 minutes of moderate physical activity into your schedule each week—can prevent (or at least delay) the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Most people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are at least 45 years old. That’s likely because people often lose muscle mass, gain weight and exercise less frequently as they grow older. Staying active and eating better can help mitigate this risk factor.
If your parents or siblings have type 2 diabetes, you may have a higher risk of developing the condition. You should tell your doctor about your family history of diabetes. He or she can help you focus on reducing your risk of developing the condition through lifestyle changes and more.
Researchers aren’t quite sure why, but people of certain races are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than others. At the highest risk are Hispanic, American Indian, Asian-American and African Americans.
5. Gestational Diabetes
If you were diagnosed with gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, then you’re at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Make sure your primary care physician is aware of your GD diagnosis so he or she can help you focus on prevention.
6. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
If you have PCOS, you are also at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. PCOS is often misdiagnosed, misunderstood or missed altogether. If you have irregular periods, excess hair growth and trouble losing weight, ask your doctor if you might have PCOS.
Exercise and regular activity controls your weight and helps improve insulin sensitivity. If you’re inactive, talk to your doctor about getting more active right away. You don’t have to run a marathon, either. Simply walking at a brisk pace five days a week will work wonders.
While these risk factors increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, there’s plenty that you can do to prevent the condition. Researchers are also currently studying additional ways to prevent type 2 diabetes. Researchers are looking at klotho proteins as a possible way to influence longevity and slow the progression of diabetes.
By eating well, staying active, and watching your weight you can reduce your risk factors for type 2 diabetes.