Are you at Risk?

Important: This content reflects information from various sources and organizations. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.

Causes and risk factors

The exact causes of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are not known with certainty.

Risk factors for type 1 include family history, genetics, infections and various environmental influences.

Type 2 Diabetes risk is affected by many factors including gender and age, diet, physical activity levels, body weight, blood glucose levels, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and family history of diabetes.

Gestational diabetes occurs when pregnant women without a previous diagnosis of diabetes develop a high blood glucose level. Gestational diabetes increases the risk of type 2 onset later in life for both mother and child.

Certain ethnicities such as First Nations in Canada, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia and African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans in the United States are at higher risk of developing type 2 although the reasons are not clear.

Mental disorders can lead indirectly to developing type 2 as a result of related life-style behaviour such as undue weight gain or persistent inactivity.

There are bi-directional causal relationships among diabetes, overweight, obesity and mental health.

What can be prevented?

Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented.

It is estimated that 70% of Type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented or at least delayed.

65% of diabetes-related complications in either type 1 or type 2 can be prevented or at least delayed.

Type 2 diabetes is not just an ‘adult onset’ condition. Children as young as 8 or younger are appearing with Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can exist for a long time without noticeable signs or symptoms. It is insidious and progressive. At time of diagnosis, cell damage can be in progress. Thus, complications occur earlier and can be more severe in youth with Type 2 versus youth with Type 1 since Type 1 usually appears ‘quickly’ and leads to immediate treatment.

Type 2 in youth is also more severe than is Type 2 in adults, with an increased risk of mortality the younger the onset of Type 2.

Critical first steps toward protecting yourself are to know your risk and get ‘tested’ for diabetes

Start here now!

Many people living with diabetes do not know they have the condition. It is estimated the number could be as high as 40%. That reality, in combination with the possibility of prevention are compelling reasons for ‘getting tested’ for diabetes.

Youth – Know your risk – Get Tested!

SFBLF, in collaboration with medical colleagues in Canada, the USA and Australia, developed (in 2016) a basic tool to help youth (age 8 – 18) and their families.

We respect your privacy. Both of the following are anonymous surveys and require no information that would allow you to be identified.

1. Type 2 Diabetes Risk Self-Assessment for Youth

This questionnaire is designed to raise awareness of the risks, prompt consideration of early screening, and provide basic information regarding steps to take to protect oneself.

Type 2 Diabetes Risk Self Assessment Questionnaire for Youth and Young Adults (8 – 18)

To access a ‘self-scoring’ version of this Questionnaire, please click here:

Take Questionnaire Now!

To download a hard copy of the Questionnaire, click here:

Download Now!


2. Food and You Survey for Youth Living with Diabetes

We know it’s tough to eat healthy but having enough choices… and making the right choices… can really help manage your diabetes successfully. Sharing this information with your caregivers can make a difference. Complete this short online questionnaire, download it and share it with your caregivers by email or take it with you to your next clinic appointment. You can even complete this survey on your mobile device while you are waiting for your appointment and share the results with your caregivers.

Take the Food and You Survey

Take Survey Now!


Adults – Know your risk – Get Tested!

There are several diabetes risk self-assessment tools available for adults. Most are interactive documents that compute a ‘score’ based on answers provided. Some can be downloaded also. Generally, these tools for adults attempt to predict the probability of your developing Type 2 Diabetes in the next 5 to 10 years. Here are some example links to such questionnaires:

Retinopathy Risk Calculator

This new application empowers people living with diabetes to assess in real time their individualized risk for sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy.

“The Retina Risk app is applicable for all age groups living with diabetes although the risk of developing sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy is known to increase along with the duration of diabetes. 

                                                                        – Retina Risk Team, Reykjavik Iceland                                                                         

If your resulting score indicates, please have yourself tested for diabetes by a qualified healthcare professional