Type 2 diabetes - risk factors

Information

You have a higher risk for diabetes if you have any of the following:

  • Age greater than 45 years
  • Diabetes during a previous pregnancy
  • Excess body weight (especially around the waist)
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • HDL cholesterol under 35 mg/dL
  • High blood levels of triglycerides, a type of fat molecule (250 mg/dL or more)
  • High blood pressure (greater than or equal to 140/90 mmHg)
  • Impaired glucose tolerance
  • Low activity level (exercising less than 3 times a week)
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • A condition called acanthosis nigricans, which causes dark, thickened skin around the neck or armpits

Persons from certain ethnic groups, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans, have a higher risk for diabetes.

Everyone over 45 should have a blood sugar (glucose) test at least every 3 years. Regular testing of blood sugar levels should begin at a younger age, and be performed more often if you are at higher risk for diabetes.

See: Type 2 diabetes

References

In the clinic. Type 2 diabetes. Ann Intern Med. 2007;146:ITC-1-ITC-15.

American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes--2011. Diabetes Care. 2011 Jan;34 Suppl 1:S11-61.

Eisenbarth GS, Polonsky KS, Buse JB. Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. In: Kronenberg HM, Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR. Kronenberg: Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 31.

Pignone M, Alberts MJ, Colwell JA, Cushman M, Inzucchi SE, Mukherjee D, et al. Aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular events in people with diabetes: a position statement of the American Diabetes Association, a scientific statementof the American Heart Association, and an expert consensus document of the American College of Cardiology Foundation. Circulation. 2010 Jun 22;121(24):2694-701. Epub 2010 May 27.

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Review Date: 6/28/2011
Reviewed By: Ari S. Eckman, MD, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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