No one wants to be diagnosed with a chronic health condition. Chronic medical ailments can absolutely upturn a person’s life, if not end it altogether. One of the worst and most prevalent chronic conditions in the world is diabetes. Diabetes wreaks havoc on those it affects, with daily insulin injections and constant blood sugar monitoring. If not properly treated, diabetes can result in vision loss, amputation, or even death. It affects millions around the world and there are millions more who have yet to be diagnosed. So how do you know if you will one day suffer from diabetes? As it turns out, there are certain risk factors that put you at an increased likelihood of developing the disease. Find out what seven of them are below:
1. Being Overweight
By far the biggest risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes is being overweight. Even just a few extra pounds over the average for your height is putting your health in jeopardy. Experts say that if your BMI (body mass index) is anything over 25, you are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is why it is so important for those who struggle with weight gain to get in better shape and begin eating more healthy. Once you do that, it immediately begins to lower your risk of developing diabetes.
2. Family History
For many diabetics, their destiny was in their genetics. Diabetes just runs in certain families. If you have other family members who have been diagnosed with diabetes, you are already at an increased risk. However, this does not mean that you will 100% certainly get diabetes. You can still take measures to lower your risk. For people who have a family history of diabetes, it is especially important for them to exercise, eat healthy, and stay at a healthy weight to try to keep their risk lower.
3. Sedentary Lifestyle
Your activity level plays a factor in your diabetes risk in numerous ways. First, people who are sedentary are more likely to be overweight, which we know is the biggest diabetes risk factor. Being sedentary also leads to high cholesterol, which happens to be another diabetes risk factor we’ll be discussing in a minute. To lower your risk of developing diabetes, physicians recommend you get at least half an hour of moderate exercise five days a week.
4. Older Age
Aging increases your risk of developing many health conditions, like heart disease and certain types of cancer. Another condition related to age is type 2 diabetes. Research has shown that diabetes risk increases during middle age. For this reason, many doctors recommend getting screened for diabetes annually after the age of 45.
Unfortunately, much like family history, your race is at play when it comes to diabetes risk. Certain races and ethnicities seem to have an increased risk of developing diabetes. For example, Pacific Islanders and American Indians are twice as likely to develop diabetes as Caucasians. Asian Americans and Hispanics are also at an increased risk, accounting for 9% and 12% of all diabetes diagnoses respectively.
6. High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is another risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. High cholesterol is the result of a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, and excess weight. High cholesterol is defined as an LDL cholesterol measuring above 130 or a total cholesterol measuring about 200. Experts recommend getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily if you have high cholesterol and following a healthy diet that consists of lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables.
7. High Blood Pressure
When it comes to co-morbidities, diabetes and high blood pressure almost always go hand-in-hand. Diabetics are twice as likely to develop high blood pressure and on the flip side, high blood pressure puts you at risk for diabetes. The two nearly always co-exist. High blood pressure is often the result of poor diet, excess weight, and a sedentary lifestyle. To keep your blood pressure down, it is important to get enough physical activity and improve your eating habits. This includes exercising at least three hours a week and eating foods low in sodium and trans fat.