Our Review Process
Our articles undergo extensive medical review by board-certified practitioners to confirm that all factual inferences with respect to medical conditions, symptoms, treatments, and protocols are legitimate, canonical, and adhere to current guidelines and the latest discoveries. Read more.
Our Editorial Team
Shifa Fatima, MSc.
Dr. Apoorva T, MHM.
Age of Onset for Diabetes: Risk Factors & More
Health conditions can strike at any point in life. Earlier, there was a specific age range that was always known to be more susceptible to developing certain types of medical conditions. These days, however, the age bar has lowered significantly. This is alarming as even young children, sometimes, even new-borns, are being diagnosed with medical conditions and disorders that were more prevalent in the older population. Diabetes, eyesight issues, heart attacks, etc are increasing in the younger ages. This is becoming a cause for concern as people have to take preventative measures from the beginning.
When the age for development of health conditions was higher, people could live their lives more freely and without worrying about what could come next. This also acted as a buffer to reduce any stress related to health conditions. These days, since people as young as 17 years of age are known to die of heart attacks, there has also been a rise in the occurrence of health anxiety related issues. Not only do medical diagnoses create an impact on the physical health, but they also play a huge role in the mental health, peace, and overall well-being of an individual. Know about diabetes treatment in pregnancy.
Diabetes is one such condition that was previously known to affect people above the age of 40 years. These days, the type 2 diabetes age group holds no strict value.
Table of Contents
Age of Onset for Diabetes: Risk Factors & More
In the United States alone, about 90-95% of the adult population is diagnosed with diabetes. It is one of the most prevalent conditions all across the globe and is now increasing even among the ages younger than 45. However, there is strong evidence that links the development of this condition after the age of 45 as the likelihood drastically increases. The exact age cannot still be deduced yet, however, the average age of diabetes and its diagnosis is around that time.
If you are wondering why diabetes is linked to age, and why the older population should be more careful, it is because type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle-related condition. This means that as people grow older and their lifestyle patterns change and become unhealthier, the incidence of diabetes increases. As one grows older, their eating habits, sleeping patterns, stressors in life, time given for exercise, etc change. Many times, they change for the worse. This can lead to a build up of the negative and unhealthy aspects that can eventually cause diabetes.
Since the age and prevalence of diabetes is now coming to the lower end of the spectrum and there is an increased likelihood of people in their teens and 20s also develop diabetes, there is a hope that people will engage in a healthier lifestyle and patterns overall. However, that may not be the reality. Despite the significance of this condition, there is no massive switch in the patterns.
The onset of type 2 diabetes – average age
Type 2 diabetes age group is around the age of 45, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Regular screening tests, health check-ups, fasting sugar tests, etc are often recommended at least twice a year for any person around this age. However, there are several other parameters that influence when and why a doctor would ask an individual to get screened for diabetes. A varied mix of health, developmental, genetic, and lifestyle factors is what the doctor might check for before recommending a complete and thorough health assessment for diabetes. Many people also are affected with diabetes without being aware of the symptoms or how they look, especially in the beginning. Since the symptoms are nothing ‘major’ in the initial stages, people do not pay much heed to it. However, this could be one prominent reason that causes a difference in the age of onset versus the age of diagnosis.
Many healthcare centres also do not distinguish between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The lack of conduction of the c-peptide tests makes it tough to gain an estimate of how many people have type 2 diabetes in their 20s or beyond that age. While T2D is more prominent among the older population, a large part of the younger ones are getting diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Even children, as young as new-borns, can be affected with T1D. This diagnosis can cause significant challenges in a person’s life. For the person diagnosed and for their caregivers, since they are young, T1D can be a tough obstacle throughout the lifetime.
Risk Factors of Diabetes
One risk factor would be the relation between age and diabetes. Even though there is no definitive or set age at which one can confirm a diabetes diagnosis, the increasing age is surely something that people need to be cautious around. However, while the age factor is still a major concern, it cannot be a definitive predictor. This is why, to understand what factors induce the increase in prevalence of type 2 diabetes, it would be vital to keep a lookout on the risk factors:
- Overweight or having more weight and body fat than is appropriate for the age
- Having a higher abdominal or belly fat
- More than 45 years of age
- Indulging in a poor diet – excess carbs, fried food, sugar, etc
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Genetic predisposition – having family members with diabetes
- Comorbidities like high blood pressure or cholesterol levels
- Having heart, liver, or kidney-related issues
- PCOD /PCOS/ thyroid or other hormonal or endocrine issues
- Poor stress management, high anxiety, and depression
These are the factors that can contribute to high blood sugars and the onset of diabetes.
Risk Factors Related to Lifestyle
Type 2 diabetes onset age can be an uncertain aspect in today’s times. However, there is a strong link to lifestyle and related factors. Even at a younger age, people are more susceptible to the development of this condition if they lead a certain kind of lifestyle. Here are some risk factors associated with the same:
- Sedentary lifestyle and being inactive physically
- Lack of exercise, even walking daily can help.
- Not putting in enough efforts to control or lose weight
- Not having a balanced diet and nutritious food
If you want to avoid the onset of diabetes in 20s or even before that, an active lifestyle with a healthy diet would be key. Making sure that you are enjoying your young life along with striking a balance between what is healthy and what isn’t can be an important step towards overall well-being in the future.
Prevention of early onset of diabetes
Since one cannot fully ascertain the type 2 diabetes age group, the best bet would be to then move towards a preventative approach. Even the symptoms that can help you get a diagnosis of diabetes do not develop until the condition is actually prevalent in your body, therefore, work towards delaying the onset (indefinitely, if possible) of diabetes.
- Exercise – Light to moderate exercises 5 times a week
- Diet – Maintain a healthy and balanced diet
- Cut sugars – Remove the intake of sugar from your diet
- Cut carbs – Make sure you are not binging on any high-carb diet
- Weight – Lose the excess body weight, which will prevent insulin resistance
- Water – Up your water intake and stay hydrated
- Sleep – Ensure a healthy sleep-wake cycle
Diabetes and its onset can create havoc in one’s life. Originally, diabetes and age were linked and people only above 45 were the ones primarily affected. These days, a person of any age can be equally susceptible to the development of diabetes. This can be a problem unless every single person takes preventative measures against the onset of the condition. Ensure to recognize and keep in mind the risk factors and use a preventative approach as much as possible. Beat diabetes from the start
Can a person have diabetes from birth?
Yes, there are occasional incidents wherein a person can be diagnosed with diabetes from birth. This would usually be classified as T1D. At birth, due to issues during birth, gestation, genetic factors, pancreatic problems, maternal smoking/drinking habits, etc, complications can arise that may result in diabetes.
Can you get diabetes at any age?
Yes, unfortunately, you can get diabetes at any age. This is a condition that can affect due to different reasons – autoimmune, lifestyle, genetic conditions, etc. These factors have no age of initiation.
This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.