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What does it mean if I'm at risk?

Being told you are at risk of Type 2 diabetes can be confusing.

The reasons people are at risk can be different and some people are more at risk than others. But, there are things everyone can do to make sure their risk of Type 2 diabetesis as low as possible.

Finding out your risk is an important first step. You may have found out your risk of Type 2 diabetes from our online tool, or from a conversation with your GP. Now you know your risk, you can do something about it.


Finding out your risk using our online tool

What does your risk category mean?

Your risk category explains your chances of getting Type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years, and can help you to see if there are changes you can make to reduce your risk.

If you found out your risk on our Know Your Risk tool or at one of our events, here is a reminder of what your risk category means. 

Low or increased risk

One in 20 people with low risk will get Type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years. 

One in 10 people with increased risk will get Type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years.

It is important you're aware of your risk level, even if you are currently at low risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Some of the risk factors you can do something about, and some you can’t. As you get older, or if your weight or waist size increases, your risk will increase. So even if you’re low or increased risk, make sure you’re maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and being active to keep your risk as low as possible, for as long as possible.

Moderate or high risk

One in seven people with moderate risk will get Type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years.

One in three people with high risk will get Type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years.

If you are at moderate or high risk of Type 2 diabetes, it is important you take it seriously. Unmanaged diabetes can make you go blind or lose a limb, cause your kidneys to fail or trigger a heart attack or stroke. In the worst cases, diabetes can kill you. If you are moderate or high risk, it is important to visit your GP surgery.


Talking to your GP about your risk

At your GP surgery, you may have found out your risk using a questionnaire like the Know Your Risk tool, or through a blood test. In England, you may have found out through an NHS Health Check

What a blood test can tell you about your risk

If you’ve seen your GP or nurse recently about your risk of Type 2 diabetes, you may have had a blood test.There are several different types of blood tests. These all check the level of sugar (or glucose) in your blood and are sometimes known as a blood sugar or blood glucose test. The results will tell you if you have Type 2 diabetes, if your blood sugar levels are high, or if you don’t currently have Type 2 diabetes.

Higher than normal blood sugar levels

In some people, blood sugar levels may be higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes. Your doctor or nurse will tell you if this is the case.Having high blood sugar levels means you're at more risk of getting Type 2 diabetes. But knowing this is important. It means you can now do something about it and keep your risk as low as possible.

Jeff%2015%20HCEs%20321px.jpgOther terms for higher than normal blood sugar levels

Doctors may use terms such as prediabetes, borderline diabetes, impaired glucose regulation or non-diabetic hyperglycaemia to describe how serious it is to have higher than normal blood sugar levels. This can be confusing. It doesn’t mean you have Type 2 diabetes. All these terms mean the same thing – that you’re more at risk of getting it in the future.


Questions to ask at your GP surgery

Here are some helpful questions to keep in mind when you visit your doctor or nurse:

More help

  • Is there a diabetes prevention programme or weight management group I can go to in my local area?
  • Are there any local services to help me move more?
  • Are there any local services to help me eat better?

Blood tests

  • Can you explain more about the tests?
  • When will I get my results?
  • What do the numbers on my results mean?

What next?

  • What do I need to do now?
  • When do I need come back and see you?
  • Do I need any more blood tests in the future?

Look out for signs of diabetes

Find out how to reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes


If you do have diabetes

This may come as a shock. Your doctor or nurse will talk to you about treatment and managing your diabetes. You can also get support and information from our helpline.

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