Diabetes risk factors

About 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. It can come on slowly, usually over the age of 40. The signs may not be obvious, or there may be no signs at all, therefore it might be up to 10 years before you learn you have it.

That’s why it’s very important to know the risk factors and find out your risk, because then you can do something about it. 

You are more at risk of Type 2 diabetes if:

  • You’re overweight or have a high Body Mass Index (BMI). Check your BMI on the NHS choices website.
  • You have a large waist (more than 80cm/31.5 inches in women, 94 cm/37 inches in men or 90cm/35 inches in South Asian men).
  • You’re from an African-Caribbean, Black African, Chinese or South Asian background and over 25.
  • You’re from another ethnic background and over 40.
  • You have a parent, brother or sister with diabetes.
  • You have ever had high blood pressure, a heart attack or a stroke.
  • You have a history of polycystic ovaries, gestational diabetes or have given birth to a baby over 10 pounds/4.5kg.
  • You suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar illness or depression, or you are taking anti-psychotic medication.

You can find out your risk of Type 2 diabetes online now. It only takes a few minutes. It could be the most important thing you do today.

Before you use the tool to find out your risk, you need to take a few measurements: your waist size, your height and your weight.


Measure your waist size

Your waist size is not necessarily your trouser size. To get an accurate waist measurement, find the bottom of your ribcage and the top of your hip bone. Measure around your middle at a point midway between these (for most people this will be the tummy button).

Watch our video for tips on how to get an accurate waist measurement.