How do I know if I'm at risk for diabetes?
Over 26 million people in the United States have diabetes and many more are at risk of developing diabetes. How do you know if you are at risk? See the Diabetes Risk Checklist below to learn whether you're at risk. And if you are, find out what you can do to reduce your diabetes risk. Then to help manage your food plan without giving up taste, see our Healthy Living Recipes for ideas.
Who should get tested for diabetes? You should be tested if you’ve ever been told you’re at risk for diabetes. It’s also a good idea to get tested if you’re 45 years old or older, especially if you’re also overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more). You should also get tested if you are younger than 45, overweight, and have one or more risk factors for diabetes (see the diabetes risk checklist below). You may also be at increased diabetes risk if you are of Latin American, African American, Pacific Island or Native American heritage. Talk with your doctor about your diabetes risk and how to get tested.
Can children be at risk for type 2 diabetes? Yes. In fact, the incidence of type 2 diabetes and its risk factors are increasing among children. It’s a good idea to discuss your child’s diabetes risk with his or her doctor, especially if your child is overweight or diabetes runs in your family.
What can I do if I’m at risk for diabetes?
These simple steps can help you reduce your diabetes risk or prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes:
- Follow a balanced eating plan that includes a variety of foods and the right amount of calories to achieve and maintain a healthful weight. Learn about the food pyramid servings eating plan.
- Be active. Try for 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week (60 minutes if you're trying to lose weight).
- If you’re overweight, lose weight. Shedding even a few pounds—5 to 7% of your body weight, which translates to 10 to 15 pounds for a 200-pound person—reduces your diabetes risk.
- Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control.
Diabetes Risk Checklist
Print this list and place a checkmark next to each diabetes risk factor that applies to you. The more risk factors you have, the higher your risk for getting type 2 diabetes. Share your results with your doctor.
- I am 45 years old or older.
- I am overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more).
- I have a parent, sister or brother who has type 2 diabetes.
- I am physically active fewer than three times a week.
- I am a woman who had gestational diabetes, or I have given birth to at least one baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
- My family background is Alaska Native, American Indian, African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American or Pacific Islander.
- My blood pressure is 140/90 mm Hg or higher, or I’ve been told I have high blood pressure.
- My cholesterol levels are not normal. My “good” HDL cholesterol is below 35 mg/d, or my triglyceride level is above 250 mg/dL.
- I have a history of cardiovascular disease.
- I’ve already had a test that showed early warning signs that could lead to developing type 2 diabetes: a fasting plasma glucose test result ?100 mg/dl but < 126 mg/dl, or an oral glucose tolerance test result ?140 mg/dl but < 200 mg/dl.
- I have a condition associated with insulin resistance (when the body’s cells don’t respond normally to insulin), such as acanthosis nigricans or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
* Above checklist adapted from NIDDK site: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/risk-factors-type-2-diabetes