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Type 2 diabetes risk factors to watch for

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes have stopped responding to the levels of insulin in their body. As the body become increasingly resistant to insulin, glucose builds up in the blood and body tissues are starved for energy. Type 2 diabetes occurs because either one or both of the following conditions exist:

  • Fat, muscles, or liver cells do not respond to the high levels of insulin (called insulin resistance) 
  • Beta cells in the pancreas do not make enough insulin relative to the demands of the body


What are the risk factors for type 2 diabetes?

There are some diabetes risks you can't control, like age and family history. Other risk factors such as your weight or blood pressure can be influenced by changes in physical activity and with loss.

Type 2 diabetes risk factors: 

  • A family history of diabetes 
  • Age: people over age 45 are at an increased risk 
  • Excess weight 
  • Lack of physical activity 
  • Consumption of high-calorie, high-fat foods and beverages
  • High intake of processed meats 
  • Sleep problems 

Prediabetes: the common precursor to type 2 diabetes 

One in three American adults has prediabetes. Prediabetes is characterized by high blood glucose levels that are not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. The condition often progresses to type 2 diabetes over time. In order to detect prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends the following guidelines:

Screen adults of any age who are overweight or obese with one or more risk factors: 

  • First-degree relative with diabetes
  • Low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (good) cholesterol level and high triglycerides levels 
  • High blood pressure 
  • History of diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) or having a baby weighing over nine pounds (4.1kg)
  • Having polycystic ovarian syndrome or other conditions associated with insulin resistance 
  • Being inactive 
  • History of cardiovascular disease
  • Belonging to an at-risk ethnic group (African American, Hispanic, Native American, Hispanic American, Asian American, or Pacific Islander)
  • Previous blood test results that show HbA1c levels at 5.7% or higher, impaired glucose tolerance, and impaired fasting glucose

Screen overweight children aged 10 years and older who have 2 or more of the following risk factors: 

  • Family history of diabetes 
  • Mother with diabetes or gestational diabetes 
  • Signs of insulin resistance or having a condition associated with insulin resistance
  • At-risk ethnic background 

Do you have prediabetes? Take this risk test from the American Diabetes Association.

Men and diabetes 

Men are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than women. Add to that the tendency men have to avoid talking about their health and a generally less healthy lifestyle than women, and you have a health issue men need to know about. Men also have a few unique diabetes symptoms to be aware of:

  • Low testosterone: shown by low energy, muscle loss and depression 
  • Erectile dysfunction: men with diabetes are three times more likely to experience ED than men without
  • Bladder problems: high blood sugar can damage the nerves that control the bladder causing overactive bladder and urinary tract infections

Have more questions about diabetes?

Logansport Memorial Hospital has a diabetes educator on-staff who works with men and women, helping them navigate through diabetes. Jill Weese, RN will work with you individually to determine what works for you in managing your diagnosis. Call her directly at (574) 753-1339 to set up an appointment, or ask your OB/GYN about a referral. 

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TOPICS: Family medicine, Diabetes