Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What are the risk factors for diabetes other than being overweight?"
I'm somewhat overweight, and I'm afraid I'll get diabetes because people in my family have it. Other than being fat, what are the risk factors for diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease of impaired sugar tolerance. There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is often developed at a young age, and is caused by a lack of insulin produced by the pancreas. Patient's with this type of diabetes must take insulin because their body does not make any. Type two diabetes (which is much more common) is caused by a loss of body responsiveness to insulin. In other words, blood sugars rise because the body can't use the insulin it makes normally. Type 1 diabetes is not associated with being overweight while type 2 is associated with being overweight. The second important factor that plays a role in the development of type 2 diabetes is family history. If you have several family members with type two diabetes, then you will have a higher risk of developing it yourself. Since you can't do anything about family history, I suggest that you focus on your weight issue. Losing weight will definitely reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes. You can start by scheduling an appointment to see your primary care physician. He or she can discuss a weight loss plan that may work for you and possibly give you a referral to a see a nutrition specialist.