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Non-Modifiable Risk Factors

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

Non-modifiable risk factors include:

Learn more about each non-modifiable risk facter below.



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

  • 85 percent of Americans 65 and older die from heart attacks.
  • Anyone of any age could develop type 2 diabetes, however:
    • 10.5 percent of men over the age of 20 have diabetes, and
    • 8.8 percent of all women over the age of 20 have diabetes.

Related Research

Age- and Sex-Specific Prevalence of Diabetes and Impaired Glucose Regulation in 11 Asian Cohorts - 2003

Metabolic Alterations in Middle-Aged and Elderly Lean Patients With Type 2 Diabetes - 2005

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.
  • African Americans are also more likely than other ethnic groups to develop type 2 diabetes.

Related Research

Ethnicity, Obesity, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women - 2006

Race, Ethnicity, Socioeconomic Position, and Quality of Care for Adults With Diabetes Enrolled in Managed Care - 2005



Gender also influences the likelihood of developing heart disease:

  • Men are more likely to develop heart disease.
  • Once a woman reaches menopause, the risk for developing heart disease increase, but the prevalence is still not as high as it is for men.

Related Research

Sex Disparities in Treatment of Cardiac Risk Factors in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes - 2005

Gender Difference in the Impact of Type 2 Diabetes on Coronary Heart Disease Risk


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.

Related Research

Family History of Type 2 Diabetes Is Associated With Decreased Insulin Sensitivity and an Impaired Balance Between Insulin Sensitivity and Insulin Secretion in White Youth - 2005

Family History of Type 2 Diabetes Is Associated With Increased Carotid Artery Intimal Medial Thickness in Mexican Americans - 2005

Consequences of a family history of type 1 and type 2 diabetes on the phenotype of patients with type 2 diabetes - 2000