Thursday, 18 February 2010

Diabetes Risk Factors

Diabetes Risk Factors

There are many diabetes risk factors that are factors in determining the odds that you may or may not develop the disease. Some are in your control and others are things that you can do little or nothing about. However, if you have one or more or the risk factors associated with diabetes, you should periodically ask your doctor to perform a diabetes diagnostic test on you. Following are some of the major diabetes risk factors:

Overweight - This is among the most common and well known risk factor associated with diabetes. It is also the one most in your control. Researchers have determined that of all the controllable factors, obesity is the greatest predictor of who will eventually develop the disease. What determines obesity? For purposes of research, obesity is usually defined as anyone having a body mass index or BMI of 30 kg/m. Using this standard, approximately 20% of all Americans are obese.

Family History of diabetes - If you have anyone in your family, past or present, that has had diabetes, you are at risk for diabetes yourself. This includes parents, grandparents, great grandparents, cousins, and so on. The closer the relative to you that had the disease, the more you are at risk for it. For example, if your father has diabetes, you are more at risk for the disease then if your cousin has it. Anyone with someone in their immediate family who has diabetes should make their doctor aware of that fact and keep especially alert for any signs of the disease in themselves.

Forty five or more years of age - the risk for developing diabetes increases with age. In fact, many health care specialist believe that after the age of 40, all patients should be screened periodically for diabetes - even if they have no other risk factors. In a sense this correlates with other factors such as weight, which also increases with age. In addition, as we age, our bodies naturally start to degrade a bit. It becomes less efficient in its ability to produce insulin making us more susceptible to diabetes.

Ethnicity - It's no secret that certain nationalities are more at risk for developing diabetes than others. Over the years the following ethnicities have been found to be the most at risk: African Americans, Latino Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and those of Hispanic origins.

High cholesterol - high cholesterol levels are bad for your health in general. They put you at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, and surprisingly, diabetes. if your normal cholesterol screening reveals that you have elevated cholesterol, check your blood glucose levels as well to ensure that they are within the normal range.

Diagnosed with diabetes in a prior pregnancy - gestational diabetes is when a woman contracts diabetes during the course of her pregnancy. Normally, once the pregnancy is over with, the diabetes gradually disappears. But these women do have a greater chance of becoming diabetic in the years ahead.

According to statistics, most people who have diabetes are unaware of it. That makes it even more important that you regularly monitor your health if you fall into one of the high risk groups for diabetes.

Alice Saracho writes about nutrition and news related to diabetes such as American Diabetes Foundation and type two diabetes diet. Please visit her website for more articles.

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