Researchers don't fully understand why some people develop type 2 diabetes and others don't. It's clear, however, that certain factors increase the risk, including:
July 24, 2014
- Weight. Being overweight is a primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes. The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin. However, you don't have to be overweight to develop type 2 diabetes.
- Fat distribution. 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.
- Inactivity. The less active you are, the greater your risk of type 2 diabetes. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
- Family history. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases if your parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
- Race. Although it's unclear why, people of certain races — including blacks, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans — are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than whites are.
- Age. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases as you get older, especially after age 45. That's probably because people tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as they age. But type 2 diabetes is also increasing dramatically among children, adolescents and younger adults.
- Prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Left untreated, prediabetes can progress to type 2 diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes. If you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases. If you gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds (4 kilograms), you're also at risk of type 2 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.
- Diabetes mellitus (DM). The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/endocrine_and_metabolic_disorders/diabetes_mellitus_and_disorders_of_carbohydrate_metabolism/diabetes_mellitus_dm.html. Accessed April 29, 2014.
- Papadakis MA, ed., et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2014. 53rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed April 27, 2014.
- Standards of medical care in diabetes — 2014. Diabetes Care. 2014;37:s14.
- What are my options? American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/oral-medications/what-are-my-options.html. Accessed May 10, 2014.
- McKulloch DK. Initial management of blood glucose in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 10, 2014.
- Hyperglycemia (High blood glucose). American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/hyperglycemia.html. Accessed April 29, 2014.
- DKA (ketoacidosis) and ketones. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/ketoacidosis-dka.html. Accessed April 29, 2014.
- Natural medicines in the clinical management of diabetes. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed May 10, 2014.
- Gardner DG, et al. Greenspan's Basic & Clinical Endocrinology. 9th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=13. Accessed April 27, 2014.