Diabetes: Are You at Risk

Diabetes is a chronic hormonal condition that affects the body’s ability to process glucose. This disease can lead to high blood sugar levels without proper management, increasing your risks of complications like heart disease and stroke.

Over 530 million adults globally live with diabetes, and almost 50% of these cases are undiagnosed. Diabetes can occur in various forms, and treatment for the condition depends on the type. This article will cover more detail about the types of diabetes and the risk factors for the disease.

Types of Diabetes

Diabetes exists in various forms, some of which indicate the severity of the disease. Let’s discuss the most common types of the disease below.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is characterized by insulin shortage in the body. Here, the body fails to produce insulin, a hormone responsible for breaking down glucose in the blood. In some people, the condition may be diagnosed during childhood.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for type 1 diabetes. Once diagnosed, you must regularly monitor your blood glucose levels and receive insulin shots. You will also need to make some lifestyle changes to cope with complications from the diseases.

Type 2 Diabetes

In type 2 diabetes, your body may not make enough insulin or struggle to respond to the hormone. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, affecting about 95% of diabetes patients. This form of diabetes is more prevalent in middle-aged to the elderly.

Unlike type 1, people with type 2 diabetes may not need insulin. The condition can be managed by changes in diet and exercise. Some factors that put you at risk for type 2 diabetes include obesity, family history, and old age. However, children may also be diagnosed with the disease.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is another form of diabetes that occurs in some women during their pregnancy. It is characterized by an individual becoming less sensitive to insulin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that between 2 to 10% of pregnant women have this type of diabetes.

Overweight women going into pregnancy are at higher risk of developing the condition. The CDC also estimates that 50% who suffer from gestational diabetes are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later. People with this condition may also suffer from high blood pressure and increased birth weight.


Prediabetes, also known as borderline diabetes, is a stage before type 2 diabetes. It is characterized by an elevated blood sugar level but not high enough to be regarded as type 2 diabetes. People living with prediabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later. However, they do not experience all the symptoms of common diabetes.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Some of the symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Slow-healing cuts
  • Deteriorating vision
  • Frequent infections
  •  Numbness

Common Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

Although nothing can be done to prevent type 1 diabetes, some factors reduce your chances of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and other forms of the disease. Some of these factors include:

Diet: Above all, diet is the most critical risk factor for diabetes. A proper diet may help reduce your risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. According to the American Heart Association, the following foods can reduce your risk of the condition:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Whole grains
  • Skinless poultry
  • Fish
  • Nuts

Weight: Being obese or overweight increases your odds of being diagnosed with diabetes. Studies show that losing body weight can severely lower your risk of the disease. The odds of you being diagnosed reduces further as you lose more weight.

Blood Pressure: High blood pressure doesn’t only impair your cardiovascular system. When left unmanaged, it may lead to diabetes complications. The normal blood pressure is between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. People with high blood pressure should aim to maintain blood pressure below 130/80 mm Hg.

Physical Activity: Inactivity is a major risk factor for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Regular exercise and other forms of physical activity contribute to lower insulin resistance. This allows your body to be able to use insulin better. For improved cardiovascular health, dedicate more time to aerobic physical activity such as jogging, swimming, cycling, and walking.

Cholesterol Levels: Low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides may also contribute to your risk of type 2 diabetes. HDL cholesterol is known as ‘good’ cholesterol because it helps expel other forms of harmful cholesterol from your bloodstream. You can increase your cholesterol levels by exercising and maintaining a healthy diet.

Bottom Line

Diabetes is a life-changing condition that may lead to several other severe health complications. Therefore, early diagnosis and proper blood sugar management are required to stay atop the disease. Some of the complications of the condition include nerve damage, stroke, kidney failure, and heart attack.

While you may be unable to completely nullify the risk of diabetes, a healthy diet and improved lifestyle may reduce the odds of being diagnosed with it.