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What’s your risk of developing type 2 diabetes?


Did you know that type 2 diabetes is preventable? Did you also know that, once diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you’ll have it for life?

Type 2 diabetes usually takes years to develop, so it’s a good idea to assess your risk factors early on and try to make the changes that you can to your lifestyle so you can lower your risk.

Risk factors

There are genetic and environmental risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes.

Genetic risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

* People with pre-diabetes

* Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, 35 years and over

* People aged 35 and over who are Pacific Islanders, Maori, Asian (including the Indian subcontinent, or of Chinese origin), Middle Eastern, North African or Southern European

* People aged 45 and over who are overweight

* People age 45 or over who have high blood pressure

* All people with cardiovascular disease such as heart attack, angina, stroke, or narrowed blood vessels

* Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who are overweight

* Women who have had gestational diabetes

* People aged 55 or over

* People with a first-degree relative with type 2 diabetes

* People taking certain antipsychotic medication or corticosteroid medication.

Lifestyle risk factors include:

* Being overweight, especially around the waist

* Low levels of physical activity, including more than two hours of television-watching per day

* Unhealthy eating habits, such as regular intake of high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt or low-fibre foods

* Cigarette smoking

* High blood pressure and cholesterol.

The more risk factors you have, the higher your risk will be.

The good news

Evidence tells us that making small lifestyle changes, for example losing 5 to 7 percent of your weight (if needed) can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 58 percent!

Calculate your risk

You can assess your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by accessing the link www. Discuss your score with your GP.

How do you get diagnosed? 

If you scored as at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, ask your GP for a laboratory blood glucose test (not using a portable blood glucose meter) to check if you have diabetes. 

Don’t wait for symptoms to develop as these may not appear until blood glucose levels are quite high. High blood glucose levels over time can cause long-term damage to your body, particularly your eyes and nerves. Did you know that diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in working age Australians?

What next?

If you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes you will need to register with the NDSS. You can do this online at or by calling 1800 637 700. It is free to register and provides you with subsidised products, education and support.

Ensuring your diabetes is well managed is key and there’s no one better qualified to do it than you. Taking charge of diabetes doesn’t have to be a full time job, but you do have to be mindful of it 24/7, whether you’re eating, working or going to bed. You’ll have a health care team of people to help you, including your GP, credentialed diabetes educator, dietitian, podiatrist and eye specialist. This is your diabetes healthcare team. The team approach helps you to learn all you need to know about diabetes, treatment and management.


One extra level of support is to become a member of your local state or territory diabetes organisation. Membership provides you with access to many valuable services and benefits. Find out more by contacting your local association.

VANIA KHOURY is a credentialed diabetes educator at Diabetes NSW & ACT. For more healthy lifestyle tips and other helpful information on diabetes head to the Diabetes NSW & ACT website or call the Helpline on 1300 136 588 to speak with a health professional. 

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