Risks of Diabetes

The following risk factors place you at greater risk for diabetes, as well as heart disease. Even if you do not have diabetes, your doctor will want to screen you for heart disease.



The risk of diabetes increases with age. The older you are, the more likely you are to develop type 2 diabetes. 



Members of some ethnic groups have a greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. Your risk may be higher if you are a member of any of the following groups. African-Americans are 1.8 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than the general population. Native Americans have a high incidence of type 2 diabetes. More than 12 percent of Native American adults have it. In some tribes, as many as 50 percent have diabetes. Hispanic Americans or Latinos are almost twice as likely to have type 2 diabetes. Some groups of Asian-Americans are at greater risk of type 2 diabetes. But more studies need to be done with members of this ethnic group before experts can further define this risk. Native Hawaiians are twice as likely as Caucasian Hawaiians to have diagnosed type 2 diabetes.



Women age 25 and older that are pregnant may be at greater risk for developing gestational diabetes. Most pregnant women should be tested for diabetes between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. You are at less risk for gestational diabetes if you: are younger than age 25 are within the range of your ideal body weight have no family history of diabetes have no history of abnormal blood glucose have no history of previous pregnancy problems If you have any of these risk factors, tell a member of your healthcare team at your first prenatal visit. Your doctor will check to see if you have diabetes. If your test indicates no diabetes, your doctor will test you again between the 24th and 28th week in your pregnancy.

Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels 

Cholesterol testing looks at different types of cholesterol. One type is high-density lipoprotein. This is known as HDL or the good cholesterol. If this, part of your blood cholesterol level is under or equal to 35 mg/dL, you should be tested regularly for diabetes. You should also be tested if your triglyceride level is over or equal to 250 mg/dL.

Written by award-winning health writer Bobbie Hasselbring

Reviewed by Beth Seltzer, MD

Last updated June 2008