Women’s Health: Risk Factors for Diabetes

Many of the risk factors of getting diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, are similar to men. However, there are some instances where as a woman, you might have some different risk factors. By knowing these risks, you have a better chance of avoiding diabetes, particularly with type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

The first type of diabetes you can get as a woman is type 1 diabetes. This is different than type 2 diabetes, therefore its risk factors and complications also tend to be different. Type 1 diabetes is the one you get most often as a child and were probably born with. This type of diabetes occurs when your pancreas doesn’t create enough insulin in your body. With this type of diabetes, you might have a family history of the disease, infections of your pancreas at a young age, or possibly other diseases of your pancreas that increased your risk.

Type 2 Diabetes

The next type of diabetes, which is the most common form, is type 2 diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, you have too much sugar in your blood. It is sometimes called having insulin resistance. This is the type of diabetes that has more risk factors and that you can get at any age. There is definitely a higher risk if diabetes runs in your family, you are born insulin resistant, or you are overweight. Other risk factors for this form of diabetes include having a glucose intolerance, following a high-sugar diet, or having an ethnic background. It does tend to be more common with women who are African American, Hispanic, or Native American, though anyone can get it. If you have PCOS or are over 45 years old, you are also at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes

The final type of diabetes you might get if you are a woman is gestational diabetes. This type of diabetes also causes an increase of blood glucose levels, except it only occurs during pregnancy. You may not have diabetes before or after your pregnancy, but will need to monitor your diabetes during your pregnancy for the health of you and your baby. Some risk factors for gestational diabetes include being older when you get pregnant, having a family history of diabetes, being overweight, and having high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Make sure you have your blood glucose monitored by a doctor if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

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