Am I at risk?

There are several factors that may put you more at risk of diabetes including:

  • Age
  • Lifestyle (diet and exercise)
  • Obese and overweight adults are more likely to have a family history of type 2 diabetes which is why diet and exercise is so important. Overweight adults are almost twice as likely to have type 2 diabetes, and obese adults are nearly four times as likely to have type 2 diabetes.
  • Family history
  • Pre-diabetes

Diabetes is the leading global cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and amputation.

Have a look at the AUSRISK Assessment Tool released by the Australian Government to see what your risk is.

Only 22% of Australians are aware of
the risk associated with family history

Family History

Your family history may impact your level of risk of diabetes. Studies show if someone in your family has type 2 diabetes, you are at increased risk of also developing the condition. But how much does it increase your risk?

Type 2 diabetes can be linked to lifestyle and more closely associated with genetic inheritance than type 1 diabetes.

Immediate family

– If one identical twin has type 2 diabetes, the chance of glucose intolerance in the other twin is up to 90%. This shows the closer the relative, the greater the risk.

– It’s estimated that people with one parent with diabetes have double the risk, while both parents increase the risk up to six times.

– Where both parents have diabetes, the average age of diagnosis is 39.

– Having a brother or sister with type 2 diabetes increases the risk more than four times.

– Mothers present a greater risk than fathers. Research at the Diabetes Centre at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital found that diabetes was twice as common when the mother had diabetes.

– A child has a 1 in 7 chance of developing diabetes if the parent is diagnosed before the age of 50, compared to a 1 in 13 chance if the parent is diagnosed after that age.

Extended family

– Where neither parent has diabetes, the average age for diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is 48 years of age.

– The more relatives with the type 2 diabetes the greater the odds for other family members – for instance, three or more relatives with the condition can increase the risk almost 15 times.

The average age of diagnosis when six relatives, other than parents, have diabetes was found to be 42 years of age, compared with 52 years of age when only one family member had it.


What can you do?

Collect your history

Studies show that two thirds of people know they have type 2 diabetes in their family, only a third actively collect health information to develop a family medical history.

Action plan to reduce risk

Adopting simple lifestyle changes (such as increasing your exercise and improving your diet) will reduce the risk by 58% for people living with pre diabetes and type 2.

Contact Diabetes NSW

Diabetes NSW hosts a series of educational programs and offers various support and resources to assist people who are living and at risk of diabetes.

For more information about what you can do, call Diabetes NSW on 1300 342 238.