Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which there is a problem in the way our body regulates and uses glucose. It is a chronic disease which can lead to excessive sugar circulating in the blood. Gradually, the high blood sugar levels can cause problems of the circulatory, nervous and immune systems. Type 2 diabetes is commonly known as an adult-onset diabetes, but both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can start during both childhood and adulthood. There is no treatment for type 2 diabetes, but shedding weight, taking healthy diet and regular exercise can help you in managing the symptoms.
Onlymyhealth has started a 'Focus of the month' campaign, in which we will be highlighting stories with insights from experts on different topics every month. And, this month's focus will be 'Healthy Living'. Diabetes is a chronic condition that people have been fighting since years and it is important to manage it for a healthy lifestyle. So, to cover it under this month's focus, our team spoke to Dr. Priyamvada Tyagi, Consultant – Endocrinologist, Endocrinology & Diabetes, Max Hospital, Patparganj, to know about the risk factors of type 2 diabetes.
Risk factors of type 2 diabetes
Signs and symptoms with type 2 diabetes usually start showing slowly and gradually. In addition, you might be living with type 2 diabetes for years and not even be aware about it. According to Dr. Priyamvada, here are the main risk factors of type 2 diabetes:
Being overweight or obese is one of the main risks of diabetes. But, this is a modifyable factor unlike other unchangable factors such as family history. Obesity is a leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes and research suggests that most people develop this chronic disease due to this reason only. It is important to manage your weight to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
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2. Family history
The risk of type 2 diabetes is also higher if your parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes. It is an unmodifyable factor. The chances of having diabetes are almost 15 times higher in those with three or more diabetic relatives as compared to those adults with no family history at all.
Inactivity is the main cause of obesity, thus it can put you at a greater risk of type 2 diabetes. The less active you are, the higher is your risk. Physical activity plays a major role in managing an optimum weight, uses up the glucose levels as energy and even makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
Smokers have 30-40 percent higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes as compared to nonsmokers. Smoking can even make controlling the symptoms of this disease and managing insulin levels more difficult due to the high amount of nicotine. It can reduce the effectiveness of insulin, causing heavy smokers to need more insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.
The risk of type 2 diabetes also becomes greater as you get older with time, especially after the age of 45. People at this age and older should take necessary steps to prevent this health condition, such as daily, light-to-moderate exercise and a healthy, balanced diet.
6. Pregnancy related risks
The risk of developing type 2 diabetes is higher if you get gestational diabetes when you were pregnant or if you gave birth to a baby that weighs more than 4 kilograms. Your blood sugar levels mostly come back to normal after the baby is born. However, in some women, it can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.
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Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or PCOD is also associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. PCOS is a common condition in which women suffer from irregular menstrual periods, too much hair growth and obesity, and thes rare the factors that increase the risk of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes can leave an impact on many important organs, including your heart, blood vessels, eyes, nerves and kidneys. In fact, factors that can increase the risk of diabetes can also spike your chance of developing other serious chronic conditions. Managing diabetes and stabilising your blood sugar levels can lower the risk of these complications or pre existing health conditions.