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Guide to Diabetes

Are you at risk?

No one really fully knows yet what causes diabetes but genetic factors, (up to 36 genes have been identified that can cause Type 2 diabetes.) weight, lifestyle, environment and viruses have a part to play. Diabetes is not catching and is not caused by eating too many sweets.

What's your Diabetes Risk Score? .................. Take The Test!



This test was created by Diabetes UK in collaboration with the University of Leicester and the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, it accurately identifies how much a person is "at risk" of developing the condition.

The test, which consists of seven questions, uses a points system to identify if a person is at low, increased, moderate or high risk of developing diabetes.

It then offers appropriate advice to people, which may be to see their gp (for moderate or high risk) or to make lifestyle changes (for low or increased risk).

People can also read the advice from the case studies who have the same level of risk as them. If a person is at moderate to high risk they can print out a letter for their gp that explains their situation.

.................. Take The Test! (


Risk Factors for Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Only about 10 – 15 % of people with diabetes have type 1diabetes. It is most commonly diagnosed in childhood and adolescents, (young people under 15 years of age), although it can occur at any age. The symptoms are and marked and diagnosis usually follows quickly.

Type 2 Diabetes

It usually appears in middle age or later but younger people are now developing Type 2 Diabetes too. People at risk from developing diabetes Type 2 are white people aged over 40, people from Asian, African, Caribbean and ethnic minority groups aged over 25 years with:

  • If diabetes is “in the family” ie mother father or brother/sister (particularly prevalent in Asian or Afro-Caribbean communities) your risk is greater
  • If you are overweight (BMI of 25-30 kg/m2 and above) carrying extra body fat around your middle.
  • If you are inactive or avoid exercise, such as walking
  • If you have thyroid disease
  • If you have pancreatic disease
  • If you are on long term steroid treatment or taking drugs to treat a mental health disorder
  • If you have disorder of the blood vessels of the brain (cerebrovascular disease)
  • If you have problems with circulation, including heart attack and stroke (peripheral vascular disease.)
  • Women who have had diabetes during pregnancy (Gestational Diabetes) (Diabetes UK recommends screening at one year after delivery and then 3 yearly).
  • Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who are obese
  • Pre-diabetes




  • Smoking- If you smoke tobacco this increases the risk of diabetes. Smoking can increase blood glucose levels and decrease the body's ability to use insulin. It can also change the way the body stores excess fat - increasing fat around the waist, which is linked to diabetes. The damage that tobacco chemicals do to blood vessels, muscles and organs may also increase the risk of diabetes.
  • Alcohol Drinking can affect your risk of diabetes
  • Diet If you eat lots of carbohydrates, such as potatoes and bread, and or have a high fat contain diet, you increase the chances of diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Activity If you are overweight and have a pretty inactive lifestyle or do little exercise. The more overweight you are, the greater your risk of diabetes, it also increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.