What's your risk of developing diabetes?

Health correspondent ( 19 August 2015 )

Type 2 diabetes affects over three million people in the UK. We explain what you can do to alleviate the risk of contracting it



The number of people with type 2 diabetes is rising rapidly in this country; some health professionals think it has already reached epidemic proportions, and that 80-90% of those who have been diagnosed with the condition have type 2. It's estimated that some 850,000 people affected by type 2 diabetes who don't yet realise they have it.

You are at risk if:

  • You are over the age of 40; the older you are, the greater your risk
  • One of your parents or a sibling has been diagnosed with type 2
  • You are overweight, especially if you carry most of the excess around your middle. Men with a waist measurement of 37 inches or more and women with a waist of 31.5 inches or more are at greatly increased risk
  • You have already had a circulatory-related illness, such as a heart attack or a stroke

Is it preventable?

Perhaps not 100% but you can do a lot to reduce considerably the chances of developing the illness.

  • If you are overweight, make a real effort to shed the excess
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet, spreading your food intake out over the day rather than having one vast meal. The basic principles are straightforward: more carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread, cereal and pasta, at least five portions of fruit and veg a day and cutting down on fat, sugary and processed foods
  • Build some physical activity into your daily routine; aim for at least 30 minutes on five days a week - though you can break each half hour into shorter segments if it's easier

What are the signs?

For some people they’re hard to ignore, but for others the symptoms come on so gradually that it’s easy to think they are just an inevitable part of getting older.

  • Feeling constantly tired
  • Need to empty your bladder very frequently, especially at night
  • Feeling thirsty all the time
  • Losing weight without changing your lifestyle
  • Blurred vision
  • Genital itching and/or bouts of thrush
  • Minor wounds taking longer to heal than they used to






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