The Link between Weight and Diabetes
According to the American Diabetes Association, there are nearly 21 million people in the United States alone who have been diagnosed with diabetes. Approximately 90-95% of all diagnoses are Type-2, and obesity is considered to be a major risk factor. While diabetes has traditionally been considered to be both a chronic and progressive illness, there is evidence that suggests the illness could possibly be reversed.What causes Type-2 diabetes?
When we eat, our bodies digest carbohydrates into various sugar molecules. Sugar molecules, or glucose, provide an important source of energy to the body. Insulin (produced by your pancreas) is what helps the body to carry the glucose into your bloodstream after you eat. Your liver also provides an important function in this process. If there is excess glucose in the bloodstream, it can be stored within the liver and used for energy at a later point. When your pancreas functions properly, these systems are able to maintain the glucose levels without other assistance. In Type-2 diabetes, the pancreas does produce insulin, but it may not produce enough or your body may have become resistant. When your cells become resistant to insulin, the glucose begins to build up within the bloodstream and prevents your body’s systems from functioning properly.
While there is evidence that Type-2 diabetes is genetic, there is also growing evidence that links obesity as a cause of the disease. The majority of those who are diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes are 40 or older, and this may be due to the fact that people typically gain weight as they age. Weight distribution also plays an important factor to the development of Type-2 diabetes. People who have a large amount of fat around the abdomen have an increased risk for the disease. There has been an alarming increase of Type-2 diabetes among young people over the last few years, primarily associated with obesity and inactivity. How do you know you have Type-2 diabetes?
There are several key signs that may point to Type-2 diabetes, including blurred vision, sores or cuts that are slow to heal, dry mouth, frequent urination and leg pain. If you experience any of these symptoms over a period of time or if they appear in combination, seek the advice of your medical professional immediately.How can you manage obesity-related diabetes?
- Diet Therapy: Change your lifestyle to include a low calorie diet of between 1200-1400 calories per day to induce weight loss.
- Physical Activity: Begin an exercise routine, starting with 20-25 minutes sessions, 2-3 times per week. As you build strength and endurance you will be able to gradually increase your intensity and frequency. This will not only aid in weight loss, but will help to improve your overall health.
- Investigate Bariatric Surgery: If you are truly obese and not making substantial progress on your own, consider surgery to speed up the process. Surgery along with proper long term dietary management can prevent future weight gain and reduce the effects Type-2 diabetes has on your body.
- Behavior Modification: If you are able to learn and apply healthier lifestyle choices, you will be more prepared to manage the disease and your overall health for the long term.
- Investigate Your Medicinal Options: Evaluate the current list of approved medications that are designed to help manage Type-2 diabetes and weight loss. There are also a number of alternative ways to help reduce weight and improve your overall health including nutritional supplements, vitamins and minerals.
Of course prevention is always the best measure. If you are overweight, take immediate action to make changes in your lifestyle in order to avoid Type-2 diabetes and other weight-related illnesses. If you are overweight and are already diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes, take measures to reduce your weight; by doing so you have the opportunity to minimize and even possibly remove the effects of the disease on your life.