Who is at risk for diabetes?

Who is at Risk for Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune response in which the immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas causing the body to produce very little or no insulin. The causes of this process are not fully understood but are thought to be a combination of genetics and environmental triggers, such as a viral infection, that initiate the autoimmune reaction. The condition can develop at any age, although the onset of type 1 diabetes occurs most frequently during childhood and young adulthood.


Type 2 diabetes

Although the exact causes of type 2 diabetes are not completely understood, there are several risk factors:

  • excess body weight
  • physical inactivity
  • aging
  • prediabetes
  • ethnicity
  • family history of diabetes
  • history of gestational diabetes

The incidence and prevalence of people with type 2 diabetes is growing rapidly worldwide. In 2021, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimated that type 2 diabetes accounted for over 90% of all diabetes worldwide. This is in part related to aging populations, economic development and increasing urbanization, which can lead to less healthy eating and decreased physical activity.


IDF Diabetes Atlas, 10th edn. Brussels, Belgium: 2021. Last accessed online December 22, 2021.