The same factors that increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increase the risk of developing prediabetes, including:
- Weight. Being overweight is a primary risk factor for prediabetes. The more fatty tissue you have — especially inside and between the muscle and skin around your abdomen — the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
- Waist size. A large waist circumference can indicate insulin resistance. The risk goes up for men with waists larger than 40 inches around and for women with waists larger than 35 inches.
- Inactivity. The less active you are, the greater your risk of prediabetes. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
- Age. Although diabetes can develop at any age, the risk of prediabetes increases as you get older, especially after age 45. This may be because people tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as they age.
- Family history. The risk of prediabetes increases if a parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
- Race. Although it's unclear why, people of certain races — including African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders — are more likely to develop prediabetes.
- Gestational diabetes. If you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, your risk of later developing diabetes increases. If you gave birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds (4.1 kilograms), you're also at increased risk of diabetes.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome. For women, having polycystic ovary syndrome — a common condition characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity — increases the risk of diabetes.
- Sleep. Research has linked sleep issues, such as obstructive sleep apnea, to an increased risk of insulin resistance. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes breathing to be interrupted numerous times during sleep, leading to poor sleep quality. People who work changing shifts or night shifts, possibly causing sleep problems, also may have an increased risk of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Other conditions associated with diabetes include:
- High blood pressure
- Low levels of HDL, or the "good," cholesterol
- High levels of triglycerides — a type of fat in your blood
When these conditions — high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abnormal blood fats and cholesterol — occur together along with obesity, they are associated with resistance to insulin. The combination of three or more of these conditions is often referred to as metabolic syndrome.
Dec. 17, 2014
- American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes — 2014. Diabetes Care. 2014;37(suppl):S14.
- Insulin resistance and pre-diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/insulinresistance/. Accessed Nov. 24, 2014.
- Diabetes symptoms. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/symptoms/?loc=db-slabnav. Accessed Nov. 26, 2014.
- DeFronzo RA, et al. Preservation of beta-cell function: The key to diabetes prevention. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2011; 96:2354.
- Senechal M, et al. Independent and combined effect of diet and exercise in adults with prediabetes. Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy. 2014;7:521.
- McCulloch DK, et al. Prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 19, 2014.
- Natural medicines in the clinical management of diabetes. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Nov. 26, 2014.