You May Be At Risk for Diabetes and Not Even Know It

By Nicole German (RD, LD)

at risk for diabetes

Diabetes is still on the rise across the world.

According to the World Health Organization, as of this year, 347 million people in the world have diabetes. The sad part is that the WHO predicts the number of diabetic deaths to increase by two-thirds by 2030!

We like to think, “That will never happen to me”. But, good health is never a guarantee.

So, let’s take a look at the risk factors in order to make sure you are not at risk for type 2 diabetes.

And, if you find you are at risk, you can take certain steps now to prevent the disease!

Diabetes Risk Assessment

  1. Does your mother, father, sister, or brother have diabetes (a non-modifiable risk factor)?
  2. Have you been diagnosed with high blood pressure?
  3. Is your BMI (Body Mass Index) above 30? Click here to check your BMI.
  4. Do you get less than 75-150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week?
  5. Do you perform strength exercises less than 2 days per week?
  6. Is your HDL cholesterol under 35 mg/dL?
  7. Are your triglycerides over 250 mg/dL?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are at risk for type 2 diabetes.


As BMI increases so does the risk for type 2 diabetes.

Next, Take These 4 Steps for Prevention

Many of these questions are related to other health conditions that can be better managed through diet, exercise, and lifestyle factors.

Here are 4 preventative areas to focus on:

1. Address Other Precursor Medical Conditions

If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, begin working with a Registered Dietitian and your doctor to help manage your diet better. They can also advise natural supplements that you may be able to take to improve your health.

exercise-to-prevent-diabetes2. Exercise

Next, if you haven’t already, begin a consistent exercise routine that you enjoy. Find something that incorporates both cardio and strength training.  Consistency and enjoyment are the key words here. Otherwise, we often fail.

3. Diet

Cleaning up your diet by removing processed foods and refined sugars/carbs is the first step. Additionally, consuming a mostly plant based diet has been shown to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes and even reverse it. This was documented in the film Forks Over Knives.

4. Support

Finally, seek support. Do not be afraid to ask for help from any source of support. This could be an online support group, or a friend that you take walks with. Whatever it is, the goal is to get healthy!

Have you already taken steps to prevent your risk for diabetes?


  1. Spectra

    Thankfully, I can answer “no” to all of those questions. My grandfather did have type 2 diabetes, but his was largely caused by lifestyle factors that he did nothing to change. My dad had been diagnosed as prediabetic but changed his diet and no longer is at risk. I get my fasting glucose levels checked every year and it’s always fine. Exercise can actually reverse the symptoms of diabetes in many people, so it’s always a good idea to start moving if you’re sedentary.

  2. ActYourselfThin

    Based on the diabetes risk assessment, I’ve been over-focusing on losing weight and finding excuses to let my activity levels slide. Thanks for the wake-up.

    I do want to add: while it’s true that research has shown that a mostly plant-based diet can reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes, similar research has shown that a high-protein and fat diet can accomplish the same thing. The commonality? Wherever you fall on the spectrum of “paleo diet” at one end and “vegan” at the other, it’s pretty clear we ALL need to reduce refined sugars and high-glycemic index meals.

  3. Sue K.

    In addition to these things, a quick look in the mirror can provide you with another indication that you might be headed toward Type 2 Diabetes. If you see an apple shape with accumulating fat around the middle staring back at you, that is a sign of insulin resistance, which means your body is becoming less sensitive to the insulin it produces and it’s having to produce more and more insulin to do the job of clearing the sugar from your blood stream.