Diabetes Risk Factors

There are a number of major risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Although some diabetic risks come from our genetics, many are preventable.

Unfortunately, many people do not know what these are or clearly understand the signs of them. For this reason, below is a list of top type 2 diabetes risk factors.

  • Also see: the symptoms of diabetes

Obesity

Obesity is the major type 2 diabetes risk, with millions of people throughout the world facing obesity.

Almost a quarter of adults in the UK are recorded as being obese.

Furthermore, the numbers continue to climb, both amongst adults and children.

The number of children being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes caused by obesity is climbing everywhere. In the UK, about one in three children are classed as obese.

Lack of exercise and sedentary way of life

Living a sedentary lifestyle without sufficient exercise is seriously damaging to health.

Being inactive often leads to being overweight, which can lead to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Staying active decreases insulin resistance and helps bodily insulin to be more effective.
Eating a 'Western' diet

Eating unhealthily is a major cause of type 2 diabetes, as over 90 per cent of type 2 diabetics are overweight.

A so called Western diet, with a reliance on processed foods, poor quality fats and little fibre content, is thought to be a major contributor to diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Eating well, in conjunction with exercise, can prevent or reverse the development of type 2 diabetes.

Picking a healthy diet can sometimes be confusing, with so many mixed messages, and its often not helped by so-called diabetic food which are not necessarily a healthier option.
Family history

Having a close family member with type 2 diabetes can raise your own risk of developing the condition.

Unfortunately, you cannot do much about your genetic history, but you can be ready by being aware of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

Also, many ethnic minorities are more prone to suffer from diabetes.

For more on this, please read diabetes and ethnicity.

Aging

As the population of the world ages, diabetes rates are soaring.

Unfortunately, the older we are, the greater the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is. The pancreas, according to some scientists, begins to produce insulin less effectively as we age.

Furthermore, bodily resistance to insulin increases with age.

High blood pressure and high cholesterol

Both of these bodily forces are risks for many diseases, one of which is type 2 diabetes. These are two major symptoms of pre-diabetes.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is another major risk, and affects about 2 to 5 per cent of women who fall pregnant. Those women who suffer from it face greater later-life risks of developing type 2 diabetes, as do their children.

Diabetes Risk Factors

There are a number of major risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Although some diabetic risks come from our genetics, many are preventable.

Unfortunately, many people do not know what these are or clearly understand the signs of them. For this reason, below is a list of top type 2 diabetes risk factors.

  • Also see: the symptoms of diabetes

Obesity

Obesity is the major type 2 diabetes risk, with millions of people throughout the world facing obesity.

Almost a quarter of adults in the UK are recorded as being obese.

Furthermore, the numbers continue to climb, both amongst adults and children.

The number of children being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes caused by obesity is climbing everywhere. In the UK, about one in three children are classed as obese.

Lack of exercise and sedentary way of life

Living a sedentary lifestyle without sufficient exercise is seriously damaging to health.

Being inactive often leads to being overweight, which can lead to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Staying active decreases insulin resistance and helps bodily insulin to be more effective.
Eating a 'Western' diet

Eating unhealthily is a major cause of type 2 diabetes, as over 90 per cent of type 2 diabetics are overweight.

A so called Western diet, with a reliance on processed foods, poor quality fats and little fibre content, is thought to be a major contributor to diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Eating well, in conjunction with exercise, can prevent or reverse the development of type 2 diabetes.

Picking a healthy diet can sometimes be confusing, with so many mixed messages, and its often not helped by so-called diabetic food which are not necessarily a healthier option.
Family history

Having a close family member with type 2 diabetes can raise your own risk of developing the condition.

Unfortunately, you cannot do much about your genetic history, but you can be ready by being aware of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

Also, many ethnic minorities are more prone to suffer from diabetes.

For more on this, please read diabetes and ethnicity.

Aging

As the population of the world ages, diabetes rates are soaring.

Unfortunately, the older we are, the greater the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is. The pancreas, according to some scientists, begins to produce insulin less effectively as we age.

Furthermore, bodily resistance to insulin increases with age.

High blood pressure and high cholesterol

Both of these bodily forces are risks for many diseases, one of which is type 2 diabetes. These are two major symptoms of pre-diabetes.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is another major risk, and affects about 2 to 5 per cent of women who fall pregnant. Those women who suffer from it face greater later-life risks of developing type 2 diabetes, as do their children.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance occurs when insulin levels are sufficiently high over a prolonged period of time causing the body’s own sensitivity to the hormone to be reduced.

Once the body starts to get resistant to insulin, it can be a difficult process to reverse because the knock on effect of insulin resistance.

Higher circulating levels of insulin in the blood stream and weight gain help to further advance insulin resistance.

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance is closely linked with inflammation, which is the body’s attempt to heal itself.

It is thought that in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes the body’s immune system releases a chemical called cytokines which is thought to interrupt with the action of insulin.

Therefore, lower insulin sensitivity and increasing insulin resistance.

Type 2 diabetes that is brought on by obesity is a result of chronic inflammation.

Causes of insulin resistance

Research is continuing to look more closely into how insulin resistance develops.

It is thought that the principle cause of insulin resistance is obesity.

One theory suggests that central obesity (too much fat around the belly) causes the fat cells to become starved of oxygen and die.

It is thought that the body reacts with an inflammatory response which then sets off the start of insulin resistance. With insulin resistance being a key factor in type 2 diabetes, the same risk factors for type 2 diabetes generally apply for insulin resistance.

Diets high in saturated fats, trans-fats, refined carbohydrates and processed foods have been closely linked with chronic inflammation disorders and insulin resistance.

Symptoms of insulin resistance

One of the earliest and most noticeable symptoms of insulin resistance is weight gain, particularly around the middle.

Further symptoms include:

  • Lethargy
  • Hunger
  • Difficulty concentrating (brain fog)
  • High blood pressure is another common symptom which is caused by high circulating levels of insulin in the blood

If insulin resistance develops into prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, the symptoms will include include increased blood glucose levels and more of the classic symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

Can insulin resistance be reduced or reversed?

Losing weight can help to decrease the extent of insulin resistance.

Changing your diet can also help to halt the progression of or decrease the effect of insulin resistance.

  • Read more on reversing the effects of diabetes.

Glucose Intolerance

Glucose intolerance is an umbrella term for metabolic conditions which result in higher than normal blood glucose levels - hyperglycemia.

Western lifestyles have seen glucose intolerance become more common year on year.
What conditions are denoted by glucose intolerance?

Conditions which can be considered as glucose intolerance include:

  • Impaired fasting glucose
  • Impaired glucose tolerance
  • Pre-diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes

What is glucose intolerance?

Glucose intolerance includes anyone with either impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).

With the World Health Organisation’s definitions for IFG and IGT, glucose intolerance is defined as: [46]

  • A fasting blood glucose level of above 6.0 mmol/L or
  • A blood glucose level of over 7.8 mmol/L 2 hours after consuming 75g of glucose.

Glucose intolerance test

A number of tests can be used to diagnose forms of glucose intolerance.

Test performed to diagnose glucose intolerance include:

  • Fasting plasma glucose test
  • Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)

Symptoms of glucose intolerance

The symptoms of glucose intolerance match those of type 2 diabetes:

  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Loss of muscle mass

The NHS states that not everyone will get these symptoms and symptoms may not be so severe.

Treatment for glucose intolerance

Treatments for glucose intolerance will either require lifestyle changes or a combination of lifestyle changes and anti-diabetic medication.

Lifestyle changes involve taking part in regular physical activity, aiming to lose weight, if appropriate, and cutting down on smoking and alcohol as necessary.

If medication is advised, most people will start on a drug, taken in tablet form, called metformin. Some people may need to take additional or alternative medication.

Glucose intolerance diet

The diet recommended by the NHS follows general healthy eating advice.

The NHS recommends eating a balanced diet based on whole grain foods, rich in fruit and vegetables and low in sugar, salt and saturated fat.

Reference: www.diabetes.co.uk