What are the Risk Factors of Diabetes?
The body digests and converts the majority of the food we eat into glucose, a sugar that is usable to the cells in our bodies. The cells use this glucose to produce energy. The pancreases produces insulin, a hormone that is responsible for the control of glucose intake into the body. Insulin plays the central role in how the body uses this glucose hence its presence or how the body cells respond to insulin dictates how healthy you are or the kind of diabetes you end up with.
Understanding Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is more common in children and the young. In this case the pancreases produces little or no insulin. Since the body doesn’t have any insulin, you cells cannot take the glucose from the bloodstream hence leading to high blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes can be managed with the help of insulin therapy or other forms of treatment.
Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, occurs when your cells are resistant to the insulin. This will also lead to blood sugar build up in the body leading to similar health side effects.
The most profound effects of diabetes will include:
- Blood vessel complications
- Nerve conditions
- Cardiovascular complications
- Heart and eye conditions
- Kidney complications
Diabetes Risk Factors
Understanding the different risk factors of diabetes will help you lead a healthier lifestyle especially if you are genetically susceptible. Experts believe that each type of diabetes has its own unique list of risk factors. While the factors for type 1 are still hazy as compared to those of type 2, we still have a list that will help you live your life the best possible way.
The following risk factors apply to both type 1 and type 2 diabetes:
Your family history
Both types of diabetes seem to have some link to hereditary or family genetic ties. You risk getting type 1 or type 2 diabetes if someone in your immediate family tree (parent or sibling) already has the condition.
Though it’s still unclear why, people from Finland and Sweden are more susceptible to Type 1 diabetes. Blacks, American Indians, Hispanics and Asian-Americans, on the other hand, are at a higher risk of contracting type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes Risk Factors
- Environmental factors that expose you to viral illness could be responsible in the development of type 1 diabetes
- Autoantiboidies or cell damaging immune system cells could result into type 1 diabetes but this isn’t a guaranteed factor
- A diet that limits the intake of Vitamin D could result into type 1 diabetes. A child is also at risk if exposed to cow’s milk or popular and cereals when younger than 4 months. These factors could be a set up for type 1 diabetes but don’t exclusively lead to the condition.
Despite these type 1 diabetes risk factors, doctors and experts are yet to establish a direct link between these suspected factors and the condition.
Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors
The type 2 diabetes risk factors are more specific and easier to follow. This could be so as it is the most common type of diabetes in the population. They include:
- Being overweight and having too much fat tissue. Fat tissue makes your cells more resistant to the influence of insulin
- Physical inactivity will not only encourage accumulation of fat tissues but also reduce the rate at which your cells demand for glucose from the blood stream. The more you task your cells the more sensitive they will be to insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes seems to thrive as people age. Aging tends to make your lifestyle less active. You will not only gain weight but also lose muscle mass hence reducing your overall need for glucose.
- Gestational diabetes will normally ebb after giving birth. However, research has proof that it will increase the risk of getting type 2 diabetes
- Blood pressure above 140/90
- Polycystic ovary syndrome not only results in irregular menstrual cycles, obesity and excessive air growth but is also a diabetes risk factor
- Low levels of ‘good’ cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein) and/or high levels of triglycerides. A quick test by your doctor will help you realize your cholesterol and triglyceride levels
The more the number of risk factors you have the higher the chances of developing diabetes. Leading a healthy lifestyle and keeping some of the manageable risk factors like overweight and high cholesterol levels in check is the first step to preventing or managing diabetes. You should always talk to your doctor and explore ways of preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes in case you have more than two risk factors.