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Could you be at risk?

Some things that increase your risk of diabetes you can’t change. These are known asnon-modifiablerisk factors and include:

  • ethnicity – African-Caribbean or South Asian people from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh, living in the UK, are at least fives times more likely to have diabetes than the white population
  • having type 2 diabetes in your family – the closer the relative, say a parent, brother or sister, the greater the risk
  • age – your risk increases with age
  • having diabetes while you are pregnant 

But others, known as ‘modifiable risk factors you can do something about and so lower your risk. These include:

  • being overweight – around 80% people diagnosed with diabetes are overweight
  • having an ‘apple-shaped’ physique - this means having excess weight around your waist.

As a guide:

  • for women, the risk increases if your waist is 31.5 inches (80cm) or more
  • for men the risk increases if your waist is 37 inches (94cm)
  • for men of South Asian or African-Caribbean origin it increases if your waist is 35 inches (90cm).
  • having heart or circulatory problems – you increase your risk if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol or have had a heart attack or stroke.

Can you reduce your risk?

If any of these risk factors apply to you – particularly your ethnicity or family history of diabetes - you should make an appointment with your GP to discuss your overall risk and if necessary have a diabetes test.

Once you know the outcome, you and your GP can discuss and agree an action plan.

Further information

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 678 1174

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