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Understanding your risk of Type 2 diabetes

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.

If you don’t know your risk yet, find out using our free Know Your Risk online tool now.

Your risk 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.

What does your risk category mean?

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

Low or increased risk

1 in 20 people with Low risk will get Type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years. 

1 in 10 people with Increased risk will get Type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years.

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

We can't change all the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. As you get older, or if your weight or waist size increases, your risk will increase. So 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

1 in 7 people with Moderate risk will get Type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years.

1 in 3 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 at high or moderate risk of Type 2 diabetes, you should do three things:

  1. Visit your GP surgery
  2. Look out for signs
  3. Take action to reduce your risk
 

Did you know?

Some healthcare professionals may use the term ‘prediabetes’. Others may also describe it as borderline diabetes, or 'a touch of' diabetes. All of these mean you are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future. Healthcare professionals may also use clinical terms such as Non-Diabetic Hyperglycaemia or Impaired Glucose Regulation. Whichever term your GP uses, you should take action now to reduce your risk.

 

Visiting your GP surgery

If you’ve found out your risk either online or at one of our events, you will have been told that you are either at low, increased, moderate or high risk of Type 2 diabetes.

If you are at moderate or high risk, it is important to visit your GP surgery.

Your doctor or nurse will ask you about the signs of Type 2 diabetes. They may do a blood test. These tests will check the level of sugar in your blood (blood sugar or blood glucose), and the results will tell you if you have Type 2 diabetes or not. 

If you do have diabetes

This may come as a shock, especially if you didn’t have any signs of Type 2 diabetes. Your doctor or nurse will talk to you about treatment and managing your diabetes.

If you have high blood glucose levels

Your doctor or nurse could describe this in lots of different ways (such as pre-diabetes or borderline diabetes) but what it means is that you’re at greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future.

You can prevent or delay this happening by making small changes now to eat better and move more.

Even if your test results show that you don’t have Type 2 diabetes or high blood glucose levels, you are still at risk. So it’s really important to make changes and keep your risk as low as possible. Even making small changes to what you eat and how much you move can make a big difference to reducing your risk.

Talking to your doctor or nurse about your risk

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

My risk

  • What do you think has put me at risk?
  • How can I reduce my risk?
  • Are there any local services that can help me reduce my risk?

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?