A primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes is being overweight. If you body mass index, or BMI, is more than 25, you are at risk. The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin. But you don’t have to be overweight to develop type 2 diabetes.
The less active you are the greater your risk. When you get physical activity, controlling your weight gets easier. Being active uses up glucose as energy, the Mayo Clinic says, and that makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
You are more likely to get diabetes when you have hypertension, or high blood pressure. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute defines it as more than 140 (your systolic number) over 90 (your diastolic number).
The seven risk factors above are each something you can change. Women, however, have three more risks that aren’t modifiable. The risks include (1) having a baby who weighs more than nine pounds at birth, (2) having been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and (3) having polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS.
You need to know about these 13 risk factors – even those you can’t change – so that you can concentrate on the ones you can change. If you are 45 or older, it’s a good idea to get tested to see if you have prediabetes or already have diabetes. If you are also overweight or obese, testing is strongly recommended. Anyone who is overweight or obese and has another risk factor also needs to be tested.