The Link Between Obesity and Diabetes
Diabetes is a group of disorders leading to chronic high blood sugar levels due to the body’s inability to produce enough or properly use insulin to regulate these levels. There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational. Today, diabetes impacts about 29 million Americans, 90 percent of whom have type 2 diabetes.
How Obesity Contributes to Diabetes
Many factors play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes, including age, family history, race and ethnicity, and others. However, the best predictor of this form of diabetes is excessive weight.
The number of diabetes cases in American adults increased about 33 percent during the 1990s and continued to steadily rise. During that time, the number of obese Americans also notably increased. When a person is overweight, his or her body often has trouble using insulin to properly control blood sugar levels, leading to diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
In many cases, type 2 diabetes is preventable. Studies have shown that a small amount of weight loss along with additional lifestyle changes can prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes for high-risk adults. A 5 to 10-percent reduction in weight, along with the introduction of moderate to intense physical activity, was shown to reduce the risk of developing diabetes 40 to 60 percent among those who participated in the studies. These small steps can go far for people who are prediabetic.
Even if you currently have type 2 diabetes, small amounts of weight loss can decrease the amount of medication you need to treat the disease, which means you’ll be less likely to suffer from the side effects. Type 2 diabetics who reach a healthy weight can even potentially reverse their condition. While diabetes is chronic, better nutrition, increased physical activity, and control of blood sugar levels can delay its progression.
If you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, make an appointment with a Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician today. If you have been unsuccessful with dieting and exercise in the past, we recommend looking into surgical weight loss options. With preventative care and disease management, we can help minimize the effects this disease could have on your life.