There isn’t a single cause of diabetes. It’s linked to a combination of factors that can increase the risk of developing diabetes like:

  • Your family history: if parents or other relatives have diabetes.
  • Your environment: if access to healthy food or places to exercise is limited.
  • Your lifestyle: The less active you are, the greater the risk. Experiencing high levels of stress can also increase the risk of developing diabetes.

Let’s look at what influences diabetes risk and what habits help for prevention.

Does eating a lot of sugar cause diabetes?

Diabetes isn’t caused by overeating sugar, but lifestyle choices do matter. Diet is part of your lifestyle, along with daily movement, stress levels, and how much you sleep.

Eating a lot of processed sweets like candy or cookies doesn’t automatically lead to diabetes, but it isn’t great for our health. Eating a lot of sugar also makes it harder to manage blood sugar if you have diabetes.

Is type 2 diabetes genetic?

Genetics play a role in diabetes. It’s not a guarantee; it just means there’s an increased risk if you have family members living with diabetes.

If you have a family history of diabetes, it’s a good reminder to keep an eye on your blood sugar by checking A1c (a measure of long-term blood sugar) and fasting blood sugar at annual physicals.

When to see a doctor about your diabetes?

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, having a care team is helpful. Your team may include:

  • A primary care physician (PCP) oversees your diabetes plan and labs. Aim for visiting your PCP at least annually or more often if your A1c is above 7.
  • A Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) is an expert in all things diabetes, from medication to blood sugar monitoring.
  • A registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) provides individualized diet support (and can also be a CDCES).

If you take multiple medications or have diabetes complications, your care team can refer you to specialists like an endocrinologist for additional support. Sometimes the idea of juggling multiple doctors and specialists can feel a bit overwhelming and time-consuming, but makes it easy to get all your care in one place.

How can I prevent type 2 diabetes?

Starting at 35, you can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by making sure your doctor checks your A1c annually as recommended by the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes doesn’t just suddenly happen overnight, so catching early signs can make a big difference.

If you have a family history of diabetes, start screening even earlier. Many people, especially in their 20s and 30s, only go to the doctor if something is wrong, but visiting your doctor early, or at least taking an at-home A1c test, can help you prevent diabetes or minimize diabetes progression.

You can’t change your genetics, but you do have control over your lifestyle. Even seemingly small changes to your diet, adding daily walks, or working on stress management can help.

Find out if you have diabetes

Test your A1c to know your diabetes risk. With an easy at-home test.

Knowing your numbers can lower diabetes risk

If you are concerned about diabetes, checking your A1c and blood sugar is the best place to start ( offers at-home options). Take charge of your health starting today by understanding your blood sugar levels to lower your risk of developing diabetes or slow progression.

At-home testing makes diabetes care accessible to anyone and everyone

Quality care shouldn’t be complicated. makes it easy and affordable to check your A1c and blood sugar at home. Plus, we can help you create an online personalized diabetes plan with your own care team. Learn more here.