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Type 2 Diabetes: Know Your Risk Factors

About 75 million Americans either have type 2 diabetes or are on their way to developing it. Your risk increases as you get older (over 45 years old), if you are overweight or obese, or if you if you carry most of your weight around your abdomen.

Having any of the following factors also puts you at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes:

  • You are African American, Hispanic American, Asian American, Native American or  Pacific Islander
  • You have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
  • You are generally physically inactive
  • You’ve already been told you have pre-diabetes
  • You had gestational diabetes or a baby who weighed more than nine pounds
  • Your blood pressure is 140/90 or above
  • Your triglyceride level is above 250 mg/dl or your HDL is below 35 mg/dl
  • You are a woman who has Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

The more risk factors you have, the higher your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. If you have any of the above risk factors, ask your health care provider to test you for diabetes.

“In many instances type 2 diabetes can be prevented or its progress can be slowed by following various lifestyle interventions. Therefore, it’s very important to get tested if you have any of the risk factors,” advises Jeanne Spellman, RD, Joslin Diabetes Center.

Page last updated: October 15, 2019