Obesity increases the risk of diabetes
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Obesity may increase the risk of many health problems. One of them is diabetes type 2, which accounts for 95% of people with diabetes. 4 in 5 patients are overweight or obese. The symptoms might not be severe but being able to recognize them is important. The links between obesity and type 2 diabetes are firmly established. Without the intervention of a healthy diet and appropriate exercise, obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes over a relatively short period of time. Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy weight.
How is overweight linked to diabetes?
Obesity is thought to trigger changes to the body’s metabolism. These changes cause fat tissue to release free fatty acid and glucose into the blood. This affects insulin responsive cells and leads to reduced insulin sensitivity. More insulin is needed to bring down blood glucose levels. As a result the pancreas needs to produce more insulin than it would normally need to. If the pancreas can no longer produce enough insulin to bring down sugar levels, the symptoms of diabetes will begin to appear. Type 2 diabetes comes on gradually and it can take up to years for symptoms to appear.
Why lose belly fat?
Studies have shown that the accumulation of belly fat is associated with metabolic syndrome. Excess body fat around the waist, decreased HDL-C (High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol), and increased triglycerides are factors that lead to high blood sugar and increases the risk of diabetes.
People who have central obesity would have:
- Waist circumference: more than 90 cm in men, more than 80 cm in women
- HDL-C level: less than 40 mg/dl in men, less than 50 mg/dl in women
- Triglycerides: more than 150 mg/dl
- Blood pressure: more than or equal to 130/85 mmHg
- Blood sugar: more than 100 mg/dl
Therefore, maintaining normal blood sugar, triglycerides, blood pressure, and waist circumference are important. Maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise also helps decrease the risks. If there are any abnormal symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.
3 simple ways to prevent obesity
Obesity and diabetes can be prevented by:
- Diet – avoid high sugar and fat food
- Exercise – at least 30 minutes a day
- Mood – try to reduce stress
Weight loss surgery for diabetes
Patients with obesity and diabetes who have failed to lose weight through diet and lifestyle changes would benefit from weight loss surgery. This will improve insulin production and might cure diabetes. Patients will need fewer or no diabetes medications. If the patient can control HbA1c to 6.0-6.5% without using diabetes medications for at least 1 year, diabetes is under control. In patients who have undergone weight loss surgery for 1-5 years, 30%-63% are free from diabetes. The surgery also reduces lipid level, blood pressure, and increases quality of life of the diabetic patient.