Am i at risk for type 2 diabetes?

Bill Snyder
Published: July, 2003

To assess your risk for type 2 diabetes, check each item that applies to you:

__ I am over 45 years of age.
__ I am overweight (see below).
__ I have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes.
__ My family background is African American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Hispanic American/Latino.
__ I have had gestational diabetes, or I gave birth to at least one baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
__ My blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, or I have been told that I have high blood pressure.
__ My cholesterol levels are not normal. My HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) is 35 or lower, or my triglyceride level is 250 or higher.
__ I am fairly inactive. I exercise fewer than three times a week.

Of these risk factors, being overweight tops the list.

To find out if you are overweight, calculate your body mass index (BMI).

A healthy BMI for adults — regardless of age or sex — is between 18.5 and 24.9. Adults with a BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 are considered overweight; those with a BMI of 30.0 or more are considered obese.

You can calculate your BMI using the following formula:

BMI = [(weight in pounds) divided by (height in inches) divided by (height in inches)] multiplied by 703.

Or you can use a Web-based calculator or table to find your BMI.

Waist size also provides a quick weight index — a waist circumference of more than 40 inches for men and more than 35 inches for women is considered overweight.

Do I have diabetes?

The symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes include increased thirst and urination, increased hunger, weight loss, extreme fatigue and blurred vision. A sudden onset of these symptoms is usual in type 1 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the symptoms may develop gradually, or not at all. People with type 2 diabetes may notice that they suffer from frequent infections, or that wounds heal slowly.

Should I be tested for diabetes?

Even if you do not have any of the symptoms listed above, if you are age 45 or older and have other risk factors, you should be tested. You should consider being tested even if you have no risk factors other than age.

If you are younger than 45, are significantly overweight, and have another risk factor, you also should consider being tested.

Sources for more information:

National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases

National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse
1 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892-3560
Phone: 1-800-860-8747

American Diabetes Association
National Service Center
1701 North Beauregard Street
Alexandria, VA 22311
Phone: 1-800-342-2383

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International
120 Wall Street, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10005
Phone: 1-800-533-2873

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