The cause of type 2 diabetes is currently unknown, but research indicates there are a range of associated risk factors.

Risk factors which cannot be changed include:

  • having a family history of diabetes
  • being over 40 years of age
  • being of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Melanesian, Polynesian, Chinese or Indian subcontinent descent
  • being a woman who has had gestational diabetes or who has polycystic ovary syndrome
  • having a mental health condition
  • having a history of heart disease

Risk factors which can be changed include:

  • being overweight: having a waist measurement over 80cm for women and over 94cm for men
  • being physically inactive
  • not following a healthy eating pattern
  • Smoking
  • having high cholesterol or blood pressure

How do you know if you have diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes symptoms differ from patient to patient.

Some develop classical symptoms, such as thirst and excessive urination and some display no symptoms at all. Some are admitted to hospital with other medical conditions, which may or may not relate to their diabetes and in the course of their admission, are found to have elevated blood sugar.

What are the consequences of diabetes?

If not managed properly, diabetic patients can develop:

  • damage to the kidneys
  • damage to the blood vessels in the eyes
  • foot ulcers that can lead to amputation
  • a significantly increased risk of heart attacks, peripheral vascular disease and strokes

Getting on track

Exercise-Equipment_ThinkstockPhotos-477847812To reduce your risk of diabetes:

  • maintain a healthy body weight
  • be physically active
  • eat a healthy diet, avoiding sugar and saturated fats
  • stop smoking

Diabetes WA has a great range of resources on their website to help you live more healthily, including exercise and meal tips, to help avoid developing this condition. is a free online program that provides skills and information to make informed decisions about nutrition, exercise and stress. is a team based challenge where teams of up to four people compete against other teams as they make their way along a virtual track.

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