Diabetes Risk Factors

Are you at risk?

Diabetes Risk Factors

  • Being overweight
  • Being overweight, especially if that weight is mostly carried around the tummy;
  • Having high blood pressure;
  • Having given birth to a baby that weighed over 4kg at birth, or have had gestational diabetes during pregnancy
  • Having high cholesterol or other fats in the blood

The following are risks you cannot change but you can take necessary steps to lower it or delay the onset of Diabetes.


As you get older 35 years and over, your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke goes up. There's nothing you can do about getting older, but you can take steps to eat healthy, stay active and manage your weight. And talk with your doctor about your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose. Make sure your numbers are where they should be and, if they're not, work with your doctor to set target numbers that are right for you.


People of different racial and ethnic groups are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. This is partly because these populations are more likely to be overweight, have high blood pressure and have type 2 diabetes.


Whether you're male or female also affects how likely you are to develop heart disease. Men are more likely to develop heart disease. But once a woman reaches menopause, her risk for heart disease goes up. But even then, women still aren't as likely as men.

Family History

If your mother, father, sister, or brother has heart disease or diabetes, your risk goes up. If you don't know your family history, ask. Ask your parents, aunts and uncles if anyone in your family has had type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke. Then tell your doctor what you learn so you can make a plan to lower your risk.

Early diagnosis of diabetes is extremely important if complications are to be prevented or delayed. If you are over 35 and have any of the risk factors highlighted in the “Who is at Risk” section, you should be tested every year. A simple finger-prick test at your local pharmacy or clinic can diagnose the strong likelihood that you may have diabetes within a minute.