Diabetes is a serious disease and often a shocking diagnosis, especially for those with no family history. Knowing the risk factors for diabetes can help with diagnosis.
Left untreated, the disease can lead to blindness, nerve damage in the extremities and even amputation from infections and sores that cannot heal, the Mayo Clinic warns
Here are some risk factors for diabetes.
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1. Fat Distribution and Weight
"If your body stores fat primarily in your abdomen, your risk of type 2 diabetes is greater than if your body stores fat elsewhere, such as your hips and thighs," the Mayo Clinic noted, adding that the more fat you have stored on your body, the more cells become resistant to insulin.
When you are physically active, your body uses glucose more effectively and makes your cells more sensitive to the effect of insulin. Physical activity also helps control weight.
3. Family History and Race
If you have family history of diabetes, you are at a higher risk. "Anyone who has a mother, father, sister, or brother with type 1 diabetes should get checked. A simple blood test can diagnose it," noted WebMD
. Asian-Americans, African-Americans, Hispanics and American Indians develop diabetes at higher rates than whites.
Those older than 45 years old who are overweight are at risk and should be tested. The Mayo Clinic noted that the increased risk for diabetes with age may be related to a tendency for people to exercise less and gain weight as they age and pointed out that diabetes is on the rise among children and young adults.
5. Prediabetes or Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes occurring during pregnancy raises the risk of diabetes. Prediabetes, which can occur up to 10 years before it becomes full-blown diabetes, is also a factor.
6. Other Medical Conditions
Those with polycystic ovary syndrome, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels or a skin condition called acanthosis nigricans are have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, according to the National Diabetes Education Program
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