1. Being overweight
Fatty tissue can make your body cells more resistant to insulin and the longer you carry excess weight, the more likely it is that type 2 diabetes will develop.
Regularly consuming high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt or low-fibre foods can contribute to the condition, while low levels of physical activity can also be an issue.
Making healthier food choices and exercising regularly can significantly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, or the need for medication if you’ve already been diagnosed.
2. Having high blood pressure or "bad" cholesterol
Having high blood pressure is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. A study by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found this could be due to processes in the body that affect both conditions, for example, inflammation.
Additionally, if you have low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, your risk of type 2 diabetes is higher. People with high levels of triglycerides (“bad” cholesterol) also have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. This is due to it causing fatty plaques to build up in arteries all over your body.
3. Smoking or excessive alcohol consumption
According to the Australian Government Department of Health, the risk of developing diabetes is 30 to 40 per cent higher for active smokers than non-smokers. High levels of nicotine in your body can lessen the effectiveness of insulin and can also make managing the disease and regulating insulin levels more difficult.
According to the National Diabetes Services Scheme, alcohol is a risk factor because it can lead to weight gain. For those with diabetes, drinking alcohol can cause both high and low blood glucose levels, making the condition difficult to manage and potentially leading to hypoglycaemia (hypos). A hypo occurs when blood glucose levels drop below 4mmol/L. Hypos can occur while drinking alcohol – or many hours afterwards – and can be dangerous, and in severe cases, fatal.
4. Family history of diabetes
Your risk of developing diabetes increases if a parent or sibling has it. Having a family member with diabetes means you have a genetic predisposition to the condition.
5. Your ethnic background
Those most at risk of developing type 2 diabetes include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Pacific Islanders, Maori, Asian (including the Indian subcontinent, or of Chinese origin), Middle Eastern, North African or Southern European people aged 35 and over.
This can be due to a variety of factors, such as where certain ethnicities carry their excess body fat, deficiencies in certain minerals and the amount of sugar or fat in traditional diets.
Early warning signs
Some symptoms of diabetes occur suddenly and are easier to notice, while others appear gradually and can go unnoticed until long-term damage has been caused.
Most early symptoms of diabetes are caused by higher than normal glucose levels in the blood. This can lead to excessive thirst, passing more urine than normal, unusual hunger and tiredness, blurred vision, mood swings, itchy skin, skin infections and delayed wound healing.
Talk to an expert
If you think you are at risk of diabetes or if you would like advice on managing your condition, start by having a chat to your pharmacist.
"Amcal pharmacists offering Diabetes Health Consultation services to their patients can provide a type 2 diabetes risk assessment or diabetes management assessment, including HbA1c check if appropriate, diet and lifestyle advice, referrals to other healthcare providers and a follow-up consultation with a medication review," explains Brinley."Whatever stage you're at, we’re always here to help."
Brought to you by Amcal. Book your Amcal Diabetes Health Consultation here.