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Risk Factors

Risk factors for type 1 diabetes

Although the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, family history may play a role. The risk of developing type 1 diabetes increases if a parent or sibling has type 1 diabetes.

Risk factors for pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes

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Researchers don't fully understand what causes people to develop pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, but it is clear that certain factors increase the risk including:

  • Weight
  • Physical inactivity
  • Family history: A parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
  • Race: If you are African-American, Hispanic, American Indian and Asian-American.
  • Age: Risk increases as a person ages, especially after age 45. But type 2 diabetes is increasing dramatically among children, adolescents and younger adults.
  • Gestational diabetes

Risk factors for gestational diabetes

Any pregnant woman can develop gestational diabetes, but some women are at greater risk than are others. Risk factors for gestational diabetes include:

  • Age: Women older than age 25.
  • Family or personal history: Pre-diabetes or if a close family member has type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy, delivered a very large baby weighing more than 9 pounds at birth.
  • Weight: Being overweight before pregnancy.
  • Race: If you are African-American, Hispanic, American Indian or Asian-American.

The American Diabetes Association website offers a Diabetes Risk Test external link to help determine if you should talk to a doctor about diabetes.

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