Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors: What You Need To Know

Last Updated on by Kari Garner, MS RDN LD CDCES

Today, On The Blog, I am discussing risk factors for Type 2 diabetes and what you need to know to prevent or delay diagnosis.

If you have ever wondered if you are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes or have recently been diagnosed with prediabetes, this blog was created for you!

Identifying the risk factors is the first step you can take to put yourself on the right path for improved health. Let’s get started!

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is when your body is experiencing issues with insulin, making it difficult to control blood sugars.

I often encourage clients to think of insulin as a key that opens the door of a cell. When working properly, insulin or the “key” can open the door and allow the glucose to enter from the bloodstream into the cell. This provides our body with the energy it needs to perform daily activities.

With Type 2 diabetes, the “key” no longer functions properly and is resistant to opening that door. Glucose is then stuck in the bloodstream and is unable to enter the cell causes blood sugar levels to rise creating a state of hyperglycemia.

Now, why is this an issue? Not only can hyperglycemia lead to fatigue, agitation, extreme thirst, brain fog but over time elevated blood sugars can lead to prediabetes and eventually type 2 diabetes.

What are Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors?

Keep in mind that risk factors put you at a higher risk of developing a disease state and are not a diagnosis.

From wondering is age a risk factor for type 2 diabetes to is hypertension a risk factor, there are many genetic and lifestyle influences that could lead to type 2 diabetes.

Let’s discuss the most common then steps you can take to delay or prevent diagnosis.

Take a look at the list below to see if any of these risk factors apply to you.

  • Age over 45
  • Relatives with diabetes (especially parents, children, or siblings)
  • Races such as African-American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asia American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islanders
  • BMI over 25
  • High blood pressure diagnosis
  • Fats in your blood (HDL <25 mg/dL, Triglycerides >250 mg/dL)
  • Low activity levels
  • PCOS diagnosis
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • History of heart disease or stroke

Take A Risk Test

Did you know the American Diabetes Association offers an online 60-second Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test?

Take yours today to receive your risk score along with more information for lowering diabetes risk.

What can I do to prevent Type 2 diabetes diagnosis?

Now that you know your risks, let’s walk through what you can do to prevent or delay diagnosis.

Check Lab Values

A great place to get started is looking at lab values then comparing to your personal labs. See the chart below that guides you through what your labs mean:

chart comparing lab values

Create A Healthy Lifestyle

It is no secret that mindful diet choices and daily movement will improve your health and decrease your risk. Here are some easy yet effective ways you can start your journey toward a healthy lifestyle.

  • Fill half your plate with vegetables! Choose non-starchy vegetables (SO many delicious and colorful options) to fill your plate with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Check out Cooking Frozen Vegetables in an Air Fryer- with Easy Recipes! for a list of over 40+ veggies plus a variety of tasty recipes to inspire you to enjoy vegetables with flavor.
  • Choose nourishing foods at each meal! Along with non-starchy vegetables, create meals with fiber filled fruits (such as berries), nuts (such as pecans, walnuts or almonds), lean protein (such as beans, lean beef, chicken or pork).
  • Take a walk outside with a friend or family member! Aerobic exercise has many health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, controlling blood sugar and improving your mood. Learn more about the Benefits of Walking for your health.
  • Park farther away from your destination! Park toward the back of the parking lot instead of in the front spot. While may seem small, this extra bit of movement in your day can make a big impact.

Get Support

I know making lifestyle changes can be overwhelming, which is why I am here to support you! If you are ready to take the leap and transform your health, check out my Resources Page. I can help you grow  & flourish with diabetes!

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Flourish with Diabetes!

If you are ready to take the leap and transform your health, check out my Resources Page. I can help you grow & flourish with diabetes!

Springtime Nutrition, LLC Flourish with Diabetes logo

Springtime Nutrition, LLC was founded on my passion to partner with individuals to eliminate the stress, frustration and overwhelm of changing their nutrition lifestyle. I am committed to supporting you at every step of your journey. Ready to transform your life?  Get started today!


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Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist/ Registered Dietitian/ Owner / Springtime Nutrition, LLC

Kari is a diabetes expert with more than 18 years of experience. Kari currently works as a diabetes educator with a large hospital system in Charleston, SC and is committed to improving the lives of people with any type of diabetes.

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