Diabetes – Am I at Risk?

The three types of diabetes are type 1, type 2 and gestational. The common characteristic is the body’s lack of capacity to make or store insulin. Without enough insulin glucose stays in the blood. The result of this is a dangerously high blood sugar level. Many people are unaware of the fact that they have diabetes. There are specific risk factors for each type of the disease.

The type 1 diabetes risk factors are genetics and family history, diseases of the pancreas and infection or illness. The American Diabetes Association labels family history as a major risk factor. They recommend that anyone with a first-degree relative with type 1 should be screened for diabetes. The medical professionals use a simple blood test.

There are several risk factors for type 2 diabetes. They include obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, ethnicity, pregnancy, age and a sedentary lifestyle. Obese people are at an extremely high risk of getting diabetes. If you have a body mass index of 30 or higher, then you need to get tested for diabetes as soon as possible. There is an epidemic of obesity among children in the United States. They drink a lot of sugary drinks and eat junk food on a regular basis. These young people have become susceptible to developing diabetes.

Pregnant women can become diabetic. Diabetes affects roughly 4% of pregnancies in the United States. The causes are hormones that are produced by the placenta or too little insulin. The fetus can actually become diabetic! The risk factors are weight gain, glucose intolerance, family history and age. Women over 35 should be especially careful because they already tend to have high risk pregnancies.

Information about prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diabetes can be found on the American Diabetes Association website. They offer good advice about diet, fitness and health insurance. If you think you are at risk consult your physician. He/she will be able to determine if you have it, and what type you have. There are steps that can be taken to avoid becoming diabetic. Maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet of fresh foods and regular exercise.