Dr Aidin Rawshani

Risk factors for diabetes


Risk factors contributing to the development of diabetes

There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gestational diabetes

In all three types of diabetes, your body can either not make or use of the hormone insulin. A large percentage of people with diabetes do not know that they have the disease.

Type 1 diabetes is a disease that most often affects younger people and is believed to be due to an autoimmune reaction, which means that the body’s own immune cells attack our insulin-producing cells and destroy them. The number of insulin-producing cells decreases and the body eventually receives insulin deficiency.

Heredity seems to be an important factor in type 1 diabetes, but also type 2 diabetes. If you have relatives with diabetes, the risk is higher that you also develop the condition. Some believe that viral or bacterial infections can trigger an immune reaction that leads to the destruction of our insulin-producing cells.

Overweight and obesity are probably the main causes of type 2 diabetes. Impaired glucose tolerance, which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes, means that the body becomes worse at handling sugar in the blood than a healthy person. Impaired glucose tolerance is also a risk factor for obesity, insulin resistance and prediabetes.

Type 2 diabetes usually affects older people who are over 40 years of age, but since the incidence of five has increased sharply in younger people, there is now a growth in young people with type 2 diabetes.

Ethnic background affects the risk of developing diabetes. The disease occurs more often in Latin America, among African-Americans, Indians and Asian-Americans. A sedentary lifestyle is also strongly connected with type 2 diabetes and involves exercising less than three times a week.

Aging age is also a risk factor and it seems that the risk rises only when the person passes 45 years of age.

Risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease

  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • High blood lipids (Hyperlipidemia)
  • Smoking
  • Overweight/obese
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Poor eating habits
  • Genetics
  • Stress
  • Sleep habits
  • Alcohol
  • Age

What affects sugar levels in your blood?

It is important to know what can cause your blood sugar to rise or drop.

Conditions leading to elevated blood sugar:

  • A meal or snack with a lot of carbohydrates
  • Physical inactivity
  • Side effects from drugs
  • Infections or other diseases
  • Changing hormone levels
  • Stress
  • Overeating

Causes of blood sugar drop:

  • A meal or snack with very low carbohydrate content
  • Increased physical activity
  • Side effects from various medicines

Good lifestyle habits

The most common diseases have a connection with our lifestyle habits. Changing these lifestyles can therefore bring you positive health effects.

Physical activity

Physical activity has a positive effect on the body’s insulin production, which leads to an improvement in sugar levels in the blood. Sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of excess weight, abdominal obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

In principle, all forms of physical activity affect your health in a good way and regular training can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and mental illness. Moving on you usually leads to feeling better and feeling stronger.

People who exercise regularly have better blood circulation, which allows the cells in the body to take up more oxygen. The body gets better at caring for blood sugar, blood lipids and various stress hormones. It leads to better sleep.

Also, the brain is positively affected by physical activity, anxiety and depression conditions improved, pain and concentration difficulties become less.

An adult person is recommended to be physically active at least 150 minutes a week. Physical activity with moderate intensity means moving so that you get warm and your pulse and breathing increase.

You can also get a written prescription on how to increase your physical activity, which is called physical activity on prescription (fAR). All qualified healthcare professionals can prescribe Father.

Food habits

Through healthy food, you can slow down or stop prediabetes. It is therefore important to consider what you can change when it comes to your eating habits. Nutrients that we get through our food are carbohydrates, fats and protein.

Carbohydrates break down to sugar (glucose) in the body, thereby raising sugar levels in the blood. There are slow and fast carbohydrates. Carbohydrates that raise sugar levels in the blood slowly are vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, berries and nuts. Carbohydrates that quickly raise sugar levels in the blood are, for example, sweet drinks such as soft drinks, sweets, pastries and ice cream.

There are different types of fat in the food we eat, saturated, unsaturated and fat-unsaturated. Saturated fat that you should eat less of is the main scales in foods such as butter, cheese and meat. Unsaturated and polyunsaturated fat is found in oils such as margarine, fish, nuts. Whipped of these fats are good for the body.

Protein hardly raises blood sugar levels and foods rich in protein are meat, fish, eggs, beans and lentils as well as dairy products.


Nicotine is the substance that makes you addicted to cigeret smoke and snuff. Nicotine affects the centre of dependence in the brain, which means that you have to add nicotine to avoid withdrawal symptoms. When a person smokes and pulls cigarette smoke into the lungs, harmful substances contained in the smoke come out into the blood, many of these substances can cause cancer, lung and cardiovascular disease.

In addition, insulin in the body seems to function poorly when smoking. Snouting is also dangerous because it is believed to contain carcinogens.


Alcohol contains a lot of calories and sugar (carbohydrates) that affect your weight and raise your blood sugar. To determine whether a person drinks too much alcohol, standard glasses are usually used. A standard glass corresponds to 15 cl wine or 33 cl strong beer, 50 cl cider, 50 cl beer, 8 cl fortified wine, 4 cl liquor.

Risk use is indicated in the amount of alcohol (standard glass) a person drinks per week. Risk use is considered to exist if a man drinks more than 14 standard glasses per week and a woman drinks more than 9 standard glasses per week.


Different types of stress are distinguished because the body reacts differently to these stress reactions. In case of short-term stress, the body ends up in a condition that is usually not harmful to the body, but if you are exposed to stress for a long time it can affect your health. In stress, the amount of cortistole in the blood increases, which leads to increased blood sugar, increased blood pressure, memory problems and difficulty in concentration.


A good sleep is necessary for the brain and body to recover. The need for sleep is individual, but it is common for a person to sleep between six and nine hours per night. Sleep has different phases and you sleep sometimes deeper and sometimes superficial. The most common causes of sleep disorders are stress and anxiety. Be medically investigated if you suspect sleep apnea syndrome, as breathing interruption (apnea) it is likely to contribute to reduced insulin sensitivity.


Aging age is probably one of the strongest risk factors for type 2 diabetes. There are several hypotheses about why type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are linked to age, some argue that the cells energy plants (mitochondria) function poorly, that the metabolism of blood lipids is handled poorly and that biochemical residues damage the cell inside.

Before it was seen that type 2 diabetes occurred most often among individuals 40 years of age or older, nowadays the disease also occurs among young people. This is most likely due to the rising incidence of obesity among younger people. Research shows that almost half of all people with the disease are older than 65 years.

Coffee and diabetes

Studies on caffeine and diabetes are interesting. Several large population studies have tried to study this and concluded that high coffee intake was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. However, it is seen that some varieties of coffee can lead to an increase in blood sugar and insulin levels increase.

A study investigating the secretion of insulin and coffee showed that those who drank coffee had more insulin in their blood circulation during fasting. Remember that high insulin levels in the blood are harmful to the body.

Genetics and Diabetes

The heredity of diabetes is complex. Some people are more likely to develop diabetes than others. Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes depend on various causes. But two factors are important in both, environment and genes. Only genes are not enough.

Proof of this is identical twins. Identical twins have identical genes. But when one of the twins has type 1 diabetes, the second disease gets at about 50% of the time. Type 2 diabetes has a stronger hereditary link than type 1 diabetes. Several people most likely have “risk genes” for type 2 diabetes, which means that their risk of developing the disease is higher. In the right environment, people with risk genes are likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Important risk factors

In conclusion, ageing, obesity, overweight, sedentary lifestyles and bad diets are the most common and probably the most important risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes.

The main risk factors for people who have type 2 diabetes are as follows:

  • Long-term blood sugar (HbA1c)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High blood lipids (hyperlipidemia)
  • Smoking
  • Poor kidney function
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