What Increases Your Risk
Things that can increase your chances of prediabetes are called risk factors. Some risk factors you can control, and others you can't.
The risk factors for prediabetes are similar to those for type 2 diabetes. Most people who get type 2 diabetes had prediabetes first. Risk factors include:3
- Being overweight.
- Lack of physical activity.
- Family history. If you have a parent, brother, or sister who has type 2 diabetes, you have a greater chance of getting the disease.
- Age. The risk for getting prediabetes and type 2 diabetes increases with age. But the number of children with type 2 diabetes is increasing. Usually, children who get type 2 diabetes have a family history of the disease, are overweight, and aren't physically active.
- Race and ethnicity. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders are at higher risk than whites for type 2 diabetes.
- History ofgestational diabetes. Women who have had gestational diabetes or who have had a baby that weighed more than 9 lb (4 kg) at birth are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.
- Low birth weight. People who weighed less than 5.5 lb (2.5 kg) at birth are more likely to get type 2 diabetes later in life.
Other health problems that put you at risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes include:
One Woman's Story:
With a family history of type 2 diabetes, Linda says she should have watched her weight more carefully. She wasn't too surprised by her prediabetes diagnosis. But she got motivated right away to do what she could about it.
"I watched my mom inject herself with insulin every day. Sometimes she needed my help. She had the hardest time keeping her blood sugar down and figuring out what to eat. I don't want to go down that road if I can help it."—Linda
Read more about Linda.
Reducing your risk
There are some things you can do to reduce your chances of getting prediabetes and diabetes:
- Watch your weight. Being overweight increases your risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Your risk also increases if most of your body fat is in your belly area. Losing even 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can reduce your risk.
- Make healthy food choices. Eating a balanced diet is one of the best things you can do for your health.
- Be active. The less you exercise, the greater your risk of getting prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.2 The more active you are, the more sugar (glucose) your body uses for energy. This keeps the sugar from building up in your blood.
- If you smoke, quit. Quitting smoking can reduce your chances of having other health problems, such as heart attack and stroke. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
- Keep high blood pressure and high cholesterol under control. Doing so can lower your risk of heart disease and large blood vessel disease.
When you have prediabetes, it's important to follow your treatment. This can reduce your risk of prediabetes turning into type 2 diabetes.
For more tips about things you can do to reduce your risk, see Prevention.