Diabetes Risk Factors

Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death in Missouri. If you have diabetes, it’s important to take steps to reduce the risk of developing the serious, and often deadly, complications of poorly managed diabetes.  

Diabetes risk factors include:

  • Over 40
  • Overweight
  • A family history or diabetes – a brother, sister or parent with diabetes
  • Women who have had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds at birth or who have had gestational diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Under 65 years and get little to no exercise

People over 40 should see their physician to discuss their risk factors and have a fasting blood sugar test annually. The only way diabetes can be diagnosed is by a blood test.

Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism. There either is not enough insulin being made by the body, or the insulin as produced is not working efficiently. Insulin is a hormone that’s an essential part of the body’s fuel system. Insulin comes from the pancreas. Most of the food we eat is broken down into glucose, which is absorbed into the bloodstream to be used by the cells for energy. Every cell in our body needs sugar to do its job. The only way sugar can enter the cells is through insulin.

Check your disease risk for:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Osteoporosis
  • Stroke
  • Heart Disease

There is no cure for diabetes, but making good choices --following a healthy diet, exercising, taking medication as prescribed, not smoking-- will move you in the right direction. It’s also important to see your physician several times a year, so treatments can be adjusted when necessary.

If you have more than three of the diabetes risk factors listed here, see your doctor right away. If you need a physician, call 314.362.9355 or toll-free 800.392.0936, or visit Find a Doctor.