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Risk Factors & Signs of Diabetes

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Risk Factors & Signs of Diabetes

Learn about warning signs of diabetes and your risk of developing the condition. Expert doctors at University Health in San Antonio can help you manage your health.

Understanding Prediabetes

Prediabetes means your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes. You may not notice any symptoms if you have prediabetes.

View a health library video about prediabetes to learn more.

Risk Factors for Prediabetes & Diabetes

Know the risk factors that increase your odds of getting prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. They include:

  • Being over age 45
  • Being overweight
  • Family (parent, brother or sister) history of diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High triglyceride levels
  • Inactivity
  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Poor diet
  • Previous gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
  • Race – Hispanic, African American or Native American
  • Smoking

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together and significantly raise your risk for developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. These health conditions include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High triglyceride level
  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • Obesity, especially large abdominal/waist size
  • High blood sugar level

If you have at least three of these conditions, you may also have insulin resistance or prediabetes. Work with your doctor to test for and treat metabolic syndrome to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Glucose Screening

Ask your primary care provider about a blood sugar screening or A1C test if you have risk factors or signs of prediabetes or diabetes.

Will Prediabetes Lead to Diabetes?

Having prediabetes means that you’re at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other health conditions. Addressing your risk factors can help prevent progression to type 2 diabetes. Work with your doctor to make lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Eating healthier foods
  • Exercising
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes affects the way your body uses carbohydrates (starches, fruit and milk), protein, and fat. Sugar (the body's primary energy source) builds up in the blood, starving the cells of energy.

There are two types of diabetes. Either your pancreas does not make insulin at all (Type 1) or your body cannot use the insulin that your pancreas creates (Type 2).

Long-Term Effects of Diabetes

If you have diabetes, turn to an endocrinologist at University Health to help you manage it. Work with your doctor to prevent or treat secondary conditions from diabetes that can cause harm to your eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart.

Warning Signs of Diabetes

Find testing for common warning signs of high blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, at University Health. Hyperglycemia may mean you have diabetes. Symptoms may include:

  • Acanthosis nigricans – Darkened skin folds on certain parts of your body, such as the neck, elbows, behind the knees and groin
  • Blurred vision
  • Excessive urination, especially at night
  • Extreme thirst
  • Fatigue most of the day
  • More infections than usual
  • Sexual problems
  • Slow healing cuts or sores
  • Tingling feeling or loss of feeling in the hands or feet

Doctors
  1. Aruna Venkatesh, MD
    Endocrinology
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  2. Devjit Tripathy, MD
    Endocrinology
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  3. Jorge Velez Garza, MD
    Endocrinology
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