Most people in Tasmania with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. It often develops slowly and the signs may not be obvious, especially as we get older. Many people can have type 2 diabetes for years before they get diagnosed.
That’s why it’s important to know if you are at risk of type 2 diabetes and what you can do to reduce that risk.
Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes
Your chances of developing diabetes go up if you:
- have prediabetes
- have a parent, brother or sister or child with type 2 diabetes
- are from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Pacific Islander, Asian or Indian background
- are over 45 years (your risk increases with age)
- had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes)
- have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- have to take certain medications, e.g. steroids (prednisolone)
- have high blood pressure
- are carrying extra weight, especially around the middle
- are physically inactive
- are a smoker
It is important to understand that no one single risk factor ‘causes’ diabetes. However, there are things you can do to reduce your chances of getting diabetes.
What can I do?
- Calculate your risk
Follow the link on the right to take you straight to the online Risk Calculator. The calculator is based on the AUSDRISK – the Australian Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test.
This simple tool estimates your chance of developing type 2 diabetes in the next 5 years. You will be asked to measure your waist (instructions are on the website).
A score of 12 or more means you are at high risk and should see your doctor.
If you have any questions about the Risk Calculator or your score before discussing with your GP, you can contact us.
- Start with the things you can do to reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes:
- Eating well
- Regular physical activity
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Looking after your heart health (not smoking, managing high blood pressure, and also managing your cholesterol levels).
How am I going to do this?
Remember, you are not alone. Diabetes Tasmania is here to support you. You have made the first important step in becoming aware of your risk of developing diabetes.
Make an appointment to see you doctor to discuss your risk score.
Contact Diabetes Tasmania and speak to our staff. We have many resources to help you to manage your risk and dedicated health professionals to work with you and support you.
Our COACH Program, a telephone-based health coaching program is also a great option to help you reduce your risk factors for developing diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes
It is difficult to know who is at risk of type 1 diabetes in the general population. However, if an immediate family member has type 1 diabetes (mother, father, child or sibling), then there is a chance you may develop the condition. While there is little you can do to prevent type 1 diabetes currently, it is possible to screen family members to see if they are at risk. Read about type 1 diabetes here.
Gestational diabetes (or diabetes in pregnancy)
The risk factors for developing gestational diabetes are similar to those for type 2 diabetes discussed below.
Firstly, if someone in your immediate family has type 2 diabetes, or your mother or sister had gestational diabetes, your risk of gestational diabetes is higher. Your age, activity levels and your ethnicity or background also increase your risk.
Discuss your risk with your doctor to help you plan for a healthy pregnancy. Read about gestational diabetes here.