About Type 2 Diabetes
No one knows exactly what causes diabetes. But scientists are working hard to find out what’s behind it. We do know that some things, called risk factors, increase your risk of having type 2 diabetes.
Am I at risk for type 2 diabetes?
Risk factors increase your chances of having type 2 diabetes. If you have risk factors, you should speak with your health care provider about changes you can make to manage risk and possibly avoid getting diabetes.
Risk factors that cannot be changed
- Being over 45 years of age
- Having diabetes in the family
- Being a member of certain ethnic groups (for example, African American or Hispanic)
- Having had diabetes during a pregnancy, or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
Risk factors that can be managed
- Being physically inactive
- Being overweight
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Common risk factors for type 2 diabetes
According to the American Diabetes Association, the following health factors are related to type 2 diabetes.
Although no one has found the genes that cause type 2 diabetes, changes in genes can be linked to type 2 diabetes. These genetic changes can be passed down in the family.
Race and ethnicity
Research studying diabetes in certain ethnic groups supports the idea that genes play a role in type 2 diabetes. African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans have higher rates of diabetes than whites in the United States.
Extra body fat is also related to type 2 diabetes. Three out of four people with type 2 diabetes are obese or have been at one time. But being obese doesn’t mean a person will get type 2 diabetes. Obesity is a risk factor because it can promote resistance to insulin.
People may gain weight as they get older, and that puts them at risk for type 2 diabetes. Out of all the new cases of type 2 diabetes in the United States, half occur in people over 55 years old. However, even younger adults can be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Why it’s important to get diagnosed
Millions of people are undiagnosed and don’t know that they have diabetes. If you are developing type 2 diabetes, you may not notice any symptoms at first. You may not feel that something is wrong, so you don’t go to your health care provider to get tested.
Finding out if you have diabetes is important because high blood sugar can damage your body and lead to other health problems if left untreated. When you know about the condition, you can take steps to manage it. Speak with your health care provider about testing for diabetes and getting treated, if necessary.
Managing diabetes around your needs
There are common goals for managing diabetes, such as controlling blood sugar and living a healthy, active life. But people who have type 2 diabetes also have special needs when it comes to diabetes care. It is important that you work with your health care providers to build a personalized diabetes care plan.
If you feel frustrated by the details of coping with diabetes, you're not alone. It’s important to learn to recognize these feelings and find ways to manage them.
Cornerstones4Care® has many tips for coping with even the hardest parts of managing your diabetes. You'll find helpful ways to:
- Change the way you eat
- Inspire you to stay active
- Check your blood sugar as directed by your diabetes care team
Your diabetes plan is key to managing your diabetes:
- Learning about diabetes may help you make healthy choices
- Making healthy choices may lead to lifestyle changes
- Changing a few things may help you in a lot of other ways
- Sticking with your care plan may help you be yourself and still manage your diabetes