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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 find out you have it.

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

Your risk increases with age.You’re more at risk if you’re white and over 40 or over 25 if you’re African-Caribbean, Black African, or South Asian.

You’re two to six times more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if you have a parent, brother, sister or child with diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is two to four times more likely in people of South Asian descent and African-Carribean or Black African descent.

You’re more at risk if you’ve ever had high blood pressure.

You’re more at risk of Type 2 diabetes if you’re overweight, especially if you’re large around the middle.

You're also more at risk if:

  • you’ve ever had a heart attack or a stroke
  • you have schizophrenia, bipolar illness or depression, or if you are receiving treatment with antipsychotic medication
  • you’re a woman who’s had polycystic ovaries, gestational diabetes, or a baby weighing over 10 pounds.

You can find out your risk of Type 2 diabetes 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. 


Find out more about how to get an accurate waist measurement. It's not your belt size.

Are you eligible for an NHS Health Check?

Whether you have any other risk factors or not, if you’re over 40 your risk of Type 2 diabetes and other conditions is higher. If you're aged 40 to 74 and living in England you may be eligible for a free NHS Health Check.

It's a great way to check your health and get personalised advice on keeping yourself healthy and active. 

Find out more about the health check on the NHS website, or talk to your GP for more information.

Terry's story

In this video, Sarah Jarvis explains why going for an NHS Health Check is important and Terry describes how having one has completely changed his life.