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Non-Modifiable Risk Factors

There are a number of non-modifiable risk factors that can contribute to a person's overall likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


Non-modifiable risk factors include:

Learn more about each non-modifiable risk factor below.



As people get older, the risk for developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes increases.

  • Nearly 27% of U.S. residents aged 65 and older have diabetes.
  • An estimated 42.2 million American adults age 60 and older have one or more types of cardiovascular disease.

Race & Ethnicity

The risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes is higher in certain ethnic groups:

  • African Americans, Mexican Americans, American Indians, native Hawaiians and some Asian Americans have an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. This is partly due to higher rates of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes in these populations.


Gender also influences the likelihood of developing heart disease:

  • Men under the age of 55 are more likely to develop heart disease than women under the age of 55. Estrogen provides women some level of protection against heart disease before menopause.
  • Once a woman reaches menopause, the risk for developing heart disease increases.

Family History

If a member of a patient's immediate and/or extended family has heart disease or diabetes, that person's chances of developing those conditions increases as well. Ask your patients if diabetes, heart disease, or stroke run in their family. They may not know the terminology. Use terms that tend to stick in patients' minds, such as "balloon angioplasty" and "stents." Knowing their risk can help your patients understand and take steps to lower their risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.