Risk factors for diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a preventable disease. Although there are some risk factors you can’t change, there are things you can do to lower your risk for diabetes.

Risk factors you can’t change

Risk factors you can change

  • Weight (being overweight or obese) – being at a healthy weight can help prevent diabetes and other chronic diseases. Studies show losing 5-7% of your weight can reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes
  • Physical activity level – Regular physical activity can lower your risk for diabetes and other chronic diseases. Studies recommend 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity, or the equivalent of 20 minutes each day (CDC, 2015).
  • Diet – Healthy eating, including eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, is one of the most important steps you can take to lower your risk for diabetes.
  • Blood pressure – High blood pressure puts you at risk for diabetes. If you have high blood pressure, work with your health care provider to lower it. You can lower your blood pressure with lifestyle changes or prescribed medication.
  • Cholesterol – High cholesterol can raise your risk for diabetes and heart disease. Talk to your doctor about your cholesterol and ways to improve it.
  • Smoking – Smokers are more 30-40% more likely than non-smokers to develop type 2 diabetes (CDC). If you smoke, consider quitting today. For help quitting visit Make smoking history or call (800) QUIT-NOW, or (800) 784-8669.

Are you at Risk? Take the American Diabetes Association’s Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test.

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