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Diabetes Risk Factors & Symptoms

Many people have diabetes and don’t even know it

Could you be at risk for diabetes? Knowing the symptoms and risk factors could help you determine if you need to talk to your doctor or a diabetes educator.

Are You at Risk?

If you have these symptoms, talk to your doctor.

If you don't have a doctor, find one now.

Symptoms of Diabetes

  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Urinating more than usual
  • Feeling very tired
  • Feeling very hungry
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Having sores that are slow to heal
  • Having dry, itchy skin
  • Having blurry vision
  • Loss of feeling or tingling in the feet

Prediabetes Risk Factors

Prediabetes occurs when a person’s blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Before people develop Type 2 diabetes, they almost always have prediabetes.

The exact cause of prediabetes is unknown, but people with these risk factors are more likely to develop prediabetes:

  • Being overweight
  • Not being physically active
  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy

Learn more about prediabetes here, and find out if you could have or be at risk for prediabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors

You may be at risk to develop diabetes if you have the following:

  • Over age 40
  • Being overweight, waist circumference 35 inches or greater for women; 40 inches or greater for men
  • A close family member (parent or sibling) with diabetes
  • Diabetes during pregnancy or giving birth to a baby weighing over nine pounds
  • Being of African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American or Pacific Islander or Native American descent
  • High blood pressure
  • High triglyceride levels and low levels of HDL (the good cholesterol)
  • Previous impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose (both are now called prediabetes)

Take this online Type 2 diabetes quiz and find out if you could have or be at risk for Type 2 diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes Risk Factors

About 10 percent of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes. The exact cause is unknown, however, some women are at greater risk. Risk factors include:

  • Being age 25 or older
  • Having a prediabetes or a close family member such as a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
  • Having had gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy, if you delivered a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds or if you had an unexplained stillbirth
  • Being overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher
  • Being of nonwhite race

Diagnosing Diabetes

If you are experiencing symptoms or are concerned that you are at risk of prediabetes or diabetes, visit with your doctor. A blood test to measure your blood sugar (glucose) level will determine if you have prediabetes or diabetes.


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