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Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

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Your chances of developing type 2 diabetes depend on a combination of risk factors such as your genes and lifestyle. Although you can’t change risk factors such as family history, age or ethnicity, you can change lifestyle risk factors around eating, physical activity and weight. These lifestyle changes can affect your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Read about risk factors for type 2 diabetes below and see which ones apply to you. Taking action on the factors you can change can help you delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.

You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you…

  • Are overweight or obese
  • Are age 45 or older
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Are African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have a low level of HDL (“good”) cholesterol, or a high level of triglycerides
  • Have a history of gestational diabetes or gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more
  • Are not physically active
  • Have a history of heart disease or stroke
  • Have depression
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome, also called PCOS
  • Have acanthosis nigricans—dark, thick, and velvety skin around your neck or armpits

You can also take the Diabetes Risk Test to learn about your risk for type 2 diabetes.

To see if your weight puts you at risk for type 2 diabetes, find your height in the Body Mass Index (BMI) charts below. If your weight is equal to or more than the weight listed, you have a greater chance of developing the disease.

What can I do to prevent type 2 diabetes?

You can take steps to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by losing weight if you are overweight, eating fewer calories, and being more physically active. Talk with your health care professional about any of the health conditions listed above that may require medical treatment. Managing these health problems may help reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Also, ask your health care professional about any medicines you take that might increase your risk.

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Source: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. Date: January 12, 2016 Publication: Bottom Line Health