Risk factors for type-1 diabetes are not very well elucidated. However, researchers are continuously looking for various factors that can influence your predisposition to the disease. Those factors include:
A family history
Anyone with a parent or sibling with type 1 diabetes has a slightly increased risk of developing the condition.
The presence of certain genes indicates an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes. In some cases genetic testing can be done to determine if someone who has a family history of type 1 diabetes is at increased risk of developing the condition.
The incidence of type 1 diabetes tends to increase as you travel away from the equator.
Exposure to Epstein-Barr virus, coxsackievirus, mumps virus or cytomegalovirus may trigger the autoimmune destruction of the islet cells that produce insulin or the virus may directly infect these cells. Islet cells are the hormone producing cells in your pancreas that are responsible for releasing insulin.
Some other possible risk factors are if your mother was younger than age 25 years when she gave birth to you or if your mother had pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy). Being born with jaundice or experiencing a respiratory infection just after you were born are also potential risk factors
The risk for having type 2 diabetes increases with age, particularly after the age of 45 years. Being overweight or obese is another major risk factor particularly if the extra weight is around the waist. Therefore, people younger than 45 years of age can develop type 2 diabetes if they are overweight.
Other risk factors include: family history of type 2 diabetes, an inactive lifestyle, high levels of fat in the blood, particularly high triglycerides (a component of cholesterol in the body) and/or low levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol and high blood pressure. Having these risk factors does not mean you’ll get diabetes, but it does mean you should consider getting screened. Consider being screened at least once a year if you have some of these risk factors.
There are many things you can do to start reducing your risk:
- Become physically active making sure you get regular daily exercise
- Eat healthier foods
- Keep your weight in a healthy range.