Risk Factors for Diabetes

You know the numbers: One in 10 Americans has diabetes and 1 in 3 American adults has prediabetes. But what makes one person more or less at risk? 

Dr. Michael Skardasis and our team at Optimal Performance Medicine are taking a deep dive into the risk factors for diabetes and helping concerned individuals like you recognize the warning signs, so you can stop the progression of diabetes in its tracks. 

A closer look at diabetes

In a healthy body, the pancreas releases a hormone called insulin when it detects sugar in your bloodstream after you eat carbohydrates. The insulin traveling through your bloodstream tells your body to use the available sugar as energy. 

When you have diabetes, this normally flawless process malfunctions or stops working altogether. There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. The most common is type 2 diabetes.  

Type 2 diabetes is a condition where your body can’t regulate the sugar levels in your blood because your cells have become resistant to insulin and absorb less sugar. 

If your body can’t properly cycle through releasing insulin and using the sugar in your blood, you develop diabetes and potentially other serious complications. For example, sugar-saturated blood damages your cardiovascular system and can also lead to kidney damage, nerve damage, and stroke.

The first step in avoiding these complications is to be proactive by identifying the risk factors in your own health.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes was once only common in adults, but the rise in childhood obesity has resulted in a higher number of type 2 diabetes cases in children, meaning that virtually anyone can develop type 2 diabetes at any stage of life. Here are some of the most common factors that increase your risk for type 2 diabetes.

Family history

If type 2 diabetes runs in your family, your chances of developing diabetes go up dramatically. It’s also believed that while you may inherit a predisposition genetically, environmental factors like eating and exercise habits that you learn from your family members can also play a role in your likelihood of developing diabetes. 

Fortunately, if you know your family health history, you can take the necessary steps to prevent or delay diabetes. 


Being overweight carries a variety of potential health problems from heart disease to stroke. It also increases your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, especially if you’re predisposed to diabetes. The extra weight you carry causes cellular inflammation, which contributes to insulin resistance and can lead to type 2 diabetes.  

Sedentary lifestyle

When you have a sedentary lifestyle and struggle to get exercise, you’re more likely to gain excess weight and eat unhealthy foods, which further increases your risk.

Getting regular exercise, especially those focused on strengthening the muscles, can help you reduce the severity of insulin resistance. 

Poor nutrition

Diets that contain large amounts of sugary beverages and foods contribute to a higher risk of diabetes. Overloading your body with sugar triggers abnormal insulin production, which leads to insulin resistance and eventually type 2 diabetes. 

Managing your diabetes

There’s no cure for diabetes, but Dr. Skardasis has the expertise necessary to help you find a lifestyle management program that will work for you. 

It’s our goal to see all of our patients with diabetes break free from their dependence on diabetes medication. We believe that the best way to manage diabetes is to focus on supporting your overall health, allowing you to take control of your blood sugar levels naturally. 

Depending on your needs, we can recommend diet and nutrition counseling, exercise regimens, and weight-loss programs to help you get healthy and effectively manage your diabetes. 

If you’re looking for a holistic approach to diabetes care, come see Dr. Skardasis and our caring, experienced team. Request an appointment online or over the phone at our Woodstock, Georgia office today. 

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