How to assess that you are at risk of type 2 diabetes?

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A recent ICMR research report says that more than half of respondent said no when asked, ” have you ever heard the term Diabetes” . Equally surprising is the fact the even those who said yes, half of them did not know that diabetes can be actually prevented. We are exploring the scientific ways to assess if one is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes , so that appropriate measures can be taken to prevent or delay it.

There is clear scientific evidence  that appropriate changes is  lifestyles and eating habits can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 70 % in patients at risk . It makes all the more sense to assess if one  is at risk of diabetes. if yes, than how serious is the risk.

All this is possible if there is a simple way to assess the risk.

Madras Diabetes Research Foundation-Indian Diabetes Risk Score

Madras Diabetes Research Foundation has developed a simple scoring system based on four parameters which can easily be assessed by any one. 

  • Age
  • Abdominal Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Family history

All these parameters can be easily assessed without using any  special instrument or equipment. 

Abdominal obesity

It is cool to have six pack abs . Abdominal obesity  ( big tummy ) kills  your cool looks. Surprisingly , current research shows that it can  also increase your risk of  serious disease like type 2 diabetes and heart attack.

We all know how hard it is have six packs abs, but it is simple to assess abdominal obesity. it can be your  first step to get rid of it.

Waist circumference

Measured in the standing position by placing a plastic tape horizontally midway between 12th rib 9 the last rib you can feel) and iliac crest  ( highest point on hip bone ) .


Physical activity

It is to assess how active are you.  If you are not doing any exercise and job requires  sitting in office for long , it means the lifestyle is basically sedentary. On the other hand if you regularly go to gym , play sports or your job requires lot of hard physical labour (unlikely) , than you are active. And then there are lots of people in between.

Family history

As inheritance plays an important role in the causing type 2 diabetes, it is important if your parents are also diabetic.  if both the parents are diabetic, higher is the risk.

 Indian Diabetes Risk Score 

Using the values of your age, waist circumference, level of physical activity and  family history of diabetes, you can calculate the Indian Diabetes Risk Score ( IDRS ) . as per the score , risk is been stratified into low, moderate and high .



High risk

equal to or more than 50

Moderate risk


Low risk

less than 30

If you are 45 years old with waist size of 92 centimetres and have typical office job which is primarily sedentary and none of your parents is diabetic , your IDRS score is (20+10+30+0) 60. It means you are at high risk of developing diabetes . It would surprising to know that just because your parents are not diabetic and you are not particularly obese ( waist size 92 cm) , does not mean you are not at risk to have  diabetes. In fact , if you are not physically active ( not running or exercising) , you are a high risk of getting diagnosed of type 2 diabetes, down the line.

what can be done to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes ?

Age and family history are the constant factors. Obviously we can not do much about them.

So we are left with only two options, we can do something about ?

  • Waist size ( Abdominal obesity)
  • Physical activity

We should try to reduce our waist size ( obesity ) and that is more or less directly related to increase in the physical activity. The weight reduction ( causing reduction in waist size) and increase in the physical activity ( running, waling and exercise) are scientifically proven to significantly reduce the risk of developing diabetes even in high risk people. It also help in better blood sugar control and delay the complications resulting from the diabetes.

Some useful links

Concluding: excess weight and sedentary life style are two important risk factors for development of  type 2 diabetes. Weight reduction and adoption of a physically active lifestyle are the best way to avoid diabetes.


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