Excess weight most obviously leads to obesity, but too much body fat can also cause a series of related diseases. Obesity’s “comobirdities” are diseases that develop due to obesity as a primary condition. Being overweight affects the body and organ systems — an increasing problem, since about 69% of the American population is currently overweight or obese. Among the numerous comorbidities associated with obesity, diabetes is among the most common and serious.
Development of Diabetes by Obese Patients
Obesity is a major risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes, and patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) higher than 30 are 80 times more likely to develop the disease than patients at a healthy weight. The reasons for this are not yet completely understood, but researchers believe that it is related to inflammatory chemicals released by abdominal fat. The accumulation of fat in the abdominal area provokes the production of hormones, while the system of cellular membranes called the endoplasmic reticulum becomes stressed.
These factors lead to a disruption of the normal function of insulin responsive cells, which leads to insulin resistance, a trigger for type 2 diabetes. For patients who already suffer from diabetes, developing insulin resistance means that larger amounts of insulin are needed to get sugar into the cells. Both obesity and diabetes are related to other risk factors, such as race, age and family history, so these variables also influence the correlation between the two diseases.
Obesity-Related Diabetes Prevention
Researchers and physicians generally agree that decreasing eating a healthy diet and increasing physical activity is the best way to minimize the probability of developing diabetes related to obesity. Even modest weight loss may decrease the risk of diabetes, given the importance of diet and exercise. According to The Obesity Society, even a 5 to 10 percent weight loss can prevent diabetes or increase the time until the development of the disease. Diabetes vitamins that are specially formulated for patients who suffer from diabetes may also help prevent the disease.
Diabetes Treatment for Obese Patients
Obese patients with diabetes can improve the severity of the disease through a healthier diet and exercise, since it will result in a decrease of the level of stress to the body. Medications to lower levels of glucose in the blood are also available for obese patients. While patients who suffer from type 1 diabetes need to take insulin exogenously to maintain healthy levels of blood glucose, patients with type 2 diabetes may take either insulin or drugs that are able to sensitize the body to insulin. Obese patients need to be particularly aware that this type of medication may increase weight. However, patients taking insulin often need smaller amounts of food, since the body is already receiving the substance.
Note: Obesity News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.