What increases my chance of getting Type 2 diabetes?
Several factors increase the possibility that a person will become diabetic later in life including:
Obesity and Body Fat Location
Studies show that obesity, being overweight, is an important risk factor in Type II diabetes.
Approximately 80% of cases are associated with this condition. Increasing the risk is the amount of obesity, as well as the length of time the person has been overweight. Research also suggests that the risk increases with the location of fat on the body. Fat in the abdominal area has been shown to increase the risk of both Type II diabetes and heart disease.
According to the World Health Organization, the impact of this condition is so significant, that preventing obesity in middle-aged adults could reduce the number of new cases by half.
Lack of Physical Activity
More and more evidence is showing that physical activity may play an important role in preventing the development of Type II diabetes.
Activity helps us to use sugar and burn fat. Maintaining the right fat-to-body ratio, called “Body Mass Index” or BMI, helps prevent obesity. Being more physically active can also have a more direct influence on how the body uses insulin to manage blood sugar. This means that lack of physical activity increases the risk of Type II diabetes.
“Hyperglycemia” is when there is more sugar in the blood than normal. It means the body may not be properly managing sugar in the body.
Hyperglycemia is often the first condition doctors look for when testing for diabetes. If a person’s level of Hyperglycemia is above normal and becomes worse over time, they are likely to develop Type II diabetes. Often people who have hyperglycemia but are not yet diabetic, are said to be “prediabetic.”
Insulin Resistance and Hyperinsulinemia
“Hyperinsulinemia” is when the body has more insulin in the blood than normal.
This can happen because the body is not properly using the insulin it has created, a condition called “Insulin Resistance”, so it asks the pancreas to make more. Over time the pancreas can become weak and does not make enough insulin, so the person becomes diabetic. Insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia are important indicators that the body is not working properly and the person is at risk of diabetes.
Hypertension, or elevated blood pressure, is commonly seen in people with Type II diabetes and is considered an early indicator for people at risk.
In recent research, hypertension was shown to change with the level of insulin sensitivity. When sensitivity improved, blood pressure went down.
In the body, there are different types of cholesterol, which are fat cells called “lipoproteins.” The two most often measured are “High Density Lipoproteins” or HDL, and “Low Density Lipoproteins” or LDL. Doctors also measure a third type of fat cell, which the body stores for energy, called a “triglyceride” or TG.
HDL is considered a good cholesterol, so the higher amount the better. LDL and TGs are considered bad, so the lower numbers the better. Recent research has shown that insulin resistance may cause higher TGs and lower HDL in the body, a condition called “Dyslipidemia.” This can be an early indicator of someone becoming Type II diabetic.
Often people in poor health have a number of health problems. Metabolic Syndrome is when a person has high-blood pressure, high blood sugar levels rom insulin resistance, excess fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels.
People with metabolic syndrome are not only at risk for Type II diabetes but also for heart disease and stroke.
Unlike some traits, diabetes does not seem to be inherited in a simple pattern. Diabetes, including all of its complications, is a downstream of symptoms that are a result of improper diet, lifestyle, and environmental toxins interacting with our unique genetic susceptibilities. Yet clearly, genetics do increase the chances of some individuals being more susceptible to diabetes.
Without proper lifestyle choices, studies show that 38% of people with an immediate family member who has Type II diabetes also becoming a diabetic by age 80, compared with 11% of those who don’t.
More specifically, people whose brother or sister had Type II diabetes were shown to be 10 times more likely to develop the disease as those who don’t. Additional research showed those who have a parent with diabetes more often had dyslipidemia (higher TGs and lower HDL) in their cholesterol levels, and higher blood sugar, than those who don’t: making them significantly more at risk.
Are you at risk?
If you think you may be at risk for diabetes contact your physician and get tested! Learn more about Diabetes Symptoms, Nutrition & Diet. You can also visit the American Diabetes Associations Risk Test for a quick online assessment.