Diabetes – Risk Factors and Warning Signs

Diabetes: Risk Factors and Warning Signs


Key Risk Factors for Diabetes

family history
overweight and obesity
hypertension or high blood pressure
history of diabetes during pregnancy
history of giving birth to a newborn weighing more than 9 pounds

Generally speaking, the more risk factors a person has, the greater their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes (and most conditions.) If you have any of the risk factors above and don’t know whether or not you have diabetes (many people don’t), see your doctor without delay.

Key Warning Signs of Diabetes

unusual thirst – (or polydypsia)
frequent urination – (or polyuria)
increased appetite – (or polyphagia)
itching, especially in the genital area
blurred vision
slow healing of infections of the skin, gums, and genital and urinary tracts
sudden weight loss
fatigue or unusual tiredness
nausea and vomiting

Key Complications of Diabetes

  • kidney failure
  • heart disease
  • vision loss or blindness
  • gangrene and limb amputation
  • stroke

How to Decrease One’s Risk of Developing Diabetes

  1. Avoid becoming overweight or obese
  2. If you’re already overweight or obese, it’s important that you don’t gain more weight. If you can lose any weight, that’s even better.
  3. In order to avoid weight gain, it’s necessary to burn off more calories than you take in. There are two ways to do that, and we recommend that you practice both:
    • Limit the number of calories you take in, especially fat calories
    • Exercise at least 20 minutes 5 days a week. If you choose walking as your regular exercise, which is fine, be sure to walk 30 minutes every day.

Diabetes Control Matters because of its serious complications, which are more likely to occur when the blood sugar and associated endocrine or metabolic substances are not kept under control.

Additional sources of Information on Diabetes:

   Tip Sheet: Diabetes is Never Just A little Touch of Sugar

   Many additional Health Power Tip Sheets are helpful for diabetes control.

The websites of both organizations above can be visited directly from our Resources Directory.