When people talk about risk factors of diabetes, it’s usually in reference to forms of type 2 diabetes, including prediabetes and gestational diabetes.

In the case of type 2 diabetes and other forms of diabetes linked to insulin resistance, the risk of developing these conditions can be reduced by ensuring you maintain a healthy balanced diet and maintaining an active lifestyle.

Risk factors for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes

The factors which increase risk of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes include:

  • Having a close relative with type 2 diabetes or type 2 diabetes running in the family
  • Being over 40 years old
  • Having high blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having previously had gestational diabetes
  • Being of South Asian, Middle Eastern or African Caribbean descent

Having a number of these factors raises the risk of type 2 diabetes further. Whilst being over 40 years old is listed as a risk factor, development of type 2 diabetes before the age of 40 is becoming increasingly common, particularly in those that are overweight and have one or more other risk factors.

Risk factors for type 1 diabetes

The main risk factor for type 1 diabetes is having a close family member with type 1 diabetes and particularly if both parents have type 1 diabetes. You may also be at a higher risk of type 1 diabetes if other autoimmune diseases, such as coeliac disease or rheumatoid arthritis run in the family.

Risk factors for gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is closely related to type 2 diabetes and therefore shares the same risk factors. In addition, a further risk factor is having previously given birth to a baby weighing 10 lbs (4.5kg) or more.