Diabetes risk assessment: What does it mean if you’re at risk? How to check your risk

Type two diabetes is a common condition that causes the level of sugar in the blood to become too high, leading to thirst, excessive urination, and tiredness. The condition increases your risk of other health concerns related to your eyes, heart and nerves.

Type one diabetes is not caused by age or weight, it happens when your body can’t produce enough insulin.

This is caused by your genes, so you will only be at risk of type one diabetes if you have specific variants of HLA genes.

Type two diabetes is often linked to having a family history of this form of diabetes, but also is caused by being overweight or inactive.

You can measure the risk of having type two diabetes with the Diabetes UK Know Your Risk online checker. 

The Know Your Risk tool is not a diagnostic tool.

It is designed for those without a diagnosis of diabetes and aims to give you an indication of the risk you face in developing type two diabetes in the next decade.

Don’t use this tool as a diagnosis. Use it to assess the risk of you becoming diabetic, and then see a doctor about your result.

Always visit a medical professional for further information as they will run tests and give you a formal diagnosis.

There are many lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk, so try not to panic.

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To calculate your risk of type two diabetes, the tool will ask you for sensitive personal data.

Don’t worry, this information is confidential and will not be stored. It is purely for the purpose of finding out your risk of diabetes.

Firstly, you will be asked to provide information relating to your gender, age, ethnic background, and family history of diabetes– all things you can do without any hassle.

However, the next step requires some equipment. You’ll need to fetch a measuring tape to measure your waist size.

Use your fingers to feel your bottom rip and top of your hip bone and measure around your body between these points.

You are then required to input your height and weight, in order to calculate your BMI.

BMI stands for Body Mass Index, and it’s a measure that uses height and weight to determine whether someone is a healthy weight.

Healthcare professionals will normally take into consideration your muscle mass and build, so it is worth visiting your GP to get an expert opinion if you are worried you are not a healthy weight.

Diabetes sufferers will need to make changes to their diets and be more active in order to keep the condition under control.

They will also need to go for regular type two diabetes check ups to monitor the situation.

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The checker will then ask: Has a doctor ever told you that you have high blood pressure, or given you medication for it?

If you do have high blood pressure, you will be at higher risk of type two diabetes.

Once you’ve answered the questions, you need to provide your email address.

The results will be sent to this address, along with top tips, advice, and diabetes-friendly recipes.

What puts you at risk of diabetes?

Type two diabetes can come on slowly and you may have no symptoms at all, so you need to be aware of the risk factors.

You are more at risk of you are white and over 40 or over 25 if you are African-Caribbean, Black African, or South Asian.

You are two to six times more likely to get type two diabetes if you have a parent, brother, sister or child with diabetes.

If you’ve ever had high blood pressure, you are more at risk.

If you are overweight and bigger around your tummy, you’re also at risk.

Smoking, drinking too much alcohol, disturbed sleep, poor diet, and a sedentary lifestyle also increase your risk.

Other conditions such as mental health conditions like bipolar disorder and depression, and physical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome are also connected to an increased risk of developing type two diabetes.

What does it mean if you’re at risk?

The checker will put you into one of four categories: low risk, increased risk, moderate risk, and high risk.

The calculator explains that there are risks that you can’t change, such as your age, gender, ethnicity and family history of the condition.

However, if you are anything more than a low risk there are risk factors that you can rule out.

For example, you can lose weight.

Ideally, you want your waist to measure less than 35.5 inches and your BMI to be between 18.5 and 24.9 to significantly reduce your risk of the condition.

You also need to work on your blood pressure and lower if it, if it is high.

You can do this by losing weight, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and cutting down on alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine and stress.

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