Reggie Gaskins




Age, Race, Gender Family History and Diabetes

Many things can effect your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Some of these factors, like your weight and how much you exercise, can be changed. Other factors, like your age and your family history, cannot be changed; however, being aware of them can help you take smart steps to lower your risk.

As you get older, your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke increases. For example, more than 8 in 10 Americans, ages 65 and older, die from heart attacks. There's nothing you can do about getting older, but you can take steps toward eat healthily, staying active and managing your weight. Talk with your doctor about your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose. Make sure your numbers are where they should be and, if they're not, work with your doctor to set target numbers that are right for you.

People of different racial and ethnic groups are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke than others. African Americans, Mexican Americans, American Indians, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans have a higher risk for these deadly diseases. This is partly because these populations are more likely to be overweight, have high blood pressure, and, thus, develop Type 2 diabetes.

Whether you're male or female also effects how likely you are to develop heart disease. Men are more likely to develop heart disease, but once a woman reaches menopause, her risk for heart disease increases. However, women still aren't as likely to develop heart disease, as are men.

Family History
If members of your immediate family (mother, father, sister, brother) have heart disease or diabetes, you have an increased risk of developing the same. If you don't know your family history, ask. Ask your parents, aunts, and uncles if anyone in your family has had Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or stroke, and then tell your doctor what you learn so you can make a plan to lower your risk.

To learn more about your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, please visit the American Diabetes Association website at


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