Obesity And Type 2 Diabetes
The connection between obesity and Type 2 Diabetes is obvious, 80% of individuals who are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes are either overweight or obese with a Boyd Mass Index of 35 or more. Children who are obese are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes earlier and earlier in life.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 Diabetes is also known as Diabetes Mellitus. It is the most common form of the diabetes and in the United States; it is the 7th leading cause of death. Type 2 Diabetes occurs when blood sugar levels become elevated in the blood due to either insulin resistance or to the lack of production of insulin, which works to remove sugars from the blood.
Type 2 Diabetes can lead to long-term complications and other serious medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, nerve damage, eye disease, and amputations due to nerve damage. It can also increase your risk of other diseases such as kidney disease and coronary heart disease.
The symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes begin to take place when your body is not responding to insulin correctly. Insulin is an important hormone that is released by your pancreas. Every time you eat, your body breaks down starches and the sugars you consume and turns them into glucose. Glucose is the product that fuels the cells in your body. Special cells called “beta cells” release insulin, and the insulin transports the glucose to the cells so it can be used as energy.
Glucose will remain in your bloodstream if it isn’t transported to your cells, and if too much of it builds up in your bloodstream, it can cause serious problems. The cells in your body can become energy-starved and eventually, the high glucose levels begin to affect your nerves, your eyes, your kidneys, and/or your heart.
The Connection Between Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes
There is continuous research being done on the subject of why overweight and obese individuals are so much more likely to develop Diabetes Mellitus.
One of the most well-known theories on the relationship between obesity and Type 2 Diabetes is that the condition of being overweight causes changes in the cells of your body that makes them resistant to insulin. This condition is called “insulin resistance.”
In the United States, the number of individuals developing Type 2 Diabetes is climbing and the increase correlates with the rise in the number of overweight individuals. According to the ADA (American Diabetes Association), there are 29.1 million adults diagnosed with diabetes, and 90 to 95% of those cases are type 2. In 2012, 86 million Americans age 20 years or older had pre-diabetes, in 2010 that number was 79 million.
The condition of pre-diabetes occurs when fasting blood sugar levels fall above normal ranges, but have not yet reached levels that require a diagnosis of Diabetes Mellitus.
Lower The Weight, Lower The Risk
Numerous research studies have revealed that it even if overweight individuals would make an effort to lose just 5% to 7% of their body weight, it could make a significant difference in their overall health. Even if they have already been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, the progression of the disease can be considerably slowed just by losing a moderate amount of body weight.
People who have lost significant amount of weight, such as after bariatric surgery reverse the condition and are able to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
The Role Of Belly Fat
It is not only how much an individual weighs that matters, it also matters which area of their body is carrying the majority of their weight that can increase their risk for health problems, including type 2 Diabetes.
Research has shown that those who carry the majority of their weight around the waistline area (visceral fat, aka belly fat) are more likely to develop and suffer from more health issues related to their obesity than those who carry the majority of their weight in their hips and thighs area.
Losing weight and adopting a healthier lifestyle can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In certain cases of extremely severe/morbid obesity that is complicated by type 2 diabetes and not being controlled well via medical means, bariatric weight loss surgery is a viable treatment option for achieving sustained weight loss.