Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot process sugar correctly. This leads to further health complications, many of which get progressively worse and can lead to disability or even death in extreme cases. There is no cure for diabetes, but there are treatments to control the condition.
There are actually two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 starts in childhood. Type 2, however, often starts later in life when the body fails to process insulin or simply stops producing the hormone. Most of the time, type 2 diabetes starts in adulthood, but there have been more cases of type 2 diabetes in children and teenagers in recent years.
Because of the long term implications of diabetes, there is a good reason to worry about the condition. While it is impossible to determine definitively what causes type 2 diabetes, experts have identified a number of risk factors.
To start, there are natural factors that may increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Family history does influence the likelihood of type 2 diabetes, so individuals with relatives suffering from the condition are at increased risk. Similarly, the risk of type 2 diabetes increases with age, making older people more susceptible to the condition. There is also evidence that certain races are at a greater risk. In general, blacks, Asian-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is also linked to certain lifestyle choices. In particular, weight is a significant factor in the condition. Individuals who are obese are much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Weight that is carried primarily in the abdomen is especially concerning as compared to weight carried in the thighs and hips. Inactivity, which is often linked to weight, has also been shown to increase the risk of diabetes.
There are also other conditions that may increase your odds of developing diabetes. Individuals who are identified with prediabetes, which is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, should be particularly vigilant. Polycystic ovary syndrome and gestational diabetes are also linked to type 2 diabetes for women.
Ultimately, there is no way to know for sure if you will get type 2 diabetes. However, by assessing the risk factors, you can work with your doctor to monitor your body and take preventative measures to stay in good health for years to come.