Obesity is a major issue in the United States. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese. And, the prevalence of obesity is highest among middle-aged adults (40-59 years old) and older adults (60 years and older). Luckily, people can go to places such as the Khalili Center for professional care that will help them get their weight under control.
If you don’t get obesity under control, it can lead to other chronic illnesses such as diabetes. In fact, obesity is the leading cause of type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes make up about 90% of all cases of diabetes. And among people with type 2 diabetes, 90% are overweight or obese.
So you may wonder exactly how excess weight leads to diabetes? Read further below to find out how these two issues relate to one another.
What Is Obesity?
Obesity is a condition that’s characterized by having too much body fat. Doctors typically use body mass index (BMI) to diagnose obesity. BMI is calculated using your height and weight. You can use this BMI calculator to figure out your own BMI.
A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. And, a BMI of 40 or more is considered morbidly obese. Obesity doesn’t just increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. It also raises your chances of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and certain types of cancer.
How Does Obesity Lead to Diabetes?
It happens when fat cells (adipocytes) in the body release substances that trigger inflammation and disrupt the normal functioning of insulin. Inflammation is a process by which the body’s white blood cells and substances they produce protect us from infection.
Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows our cells to use glucose (sugar) for energy. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugars to build up in your blood instead of going into your cells.
Over time, this extra sugar in your blood can damage your eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Diabetes can also cause heart disease, stroke, and problems with blood flow in your legs and feet.
What Is The Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?
In type 1 diabetes, the body produces little to no insulin at all. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin daily to stay alive. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children, adolescents, or young adults.
Type 2 diabetes is much more common than type 1 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the body doesn’t make or use insulin well. Type 2 diabetes often develops in adults, but children are increasingly being diagnosed with the disease.
If you’re obese, make note if you have these other diabetes risk factors:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Family history of diabetes
These other diabetes risks compounded with obesity make it even more likely you’ll develop type 2 diabetes.
What Can You Do To Lower Your Risk?
Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. If you’re overweight, losing just 5% to 10% of your body weight can help lower your blood sugar levels.
This becomes increasingly important as we age. Once you reach middle age, your risk of type 2 diabetes goes up. This is especially true if you develop what’s known as metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of risk factors that include abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels.
Tips for Weight Loss
If you are obese, you can start making changes to your diet and lifestyle to help you shed those extra pounds. Here are some tips that can help:
Eating fewer calories than you burn is needed to lose weight. But, you don’t need to starve yourself. Just focus on eating healthy foods most of the time and reducing your portion sizes.
Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. You don’t have to do it all at once. You can break it up into 10-minute increments and still reap the benefits.
Choose Healthy Foods
Eating lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help you control your weight, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. Fiber-rich foods are especially helpful because they’re low in calories but filling.
In conclusion, obesity is a major contributor to diabetes. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise is the best way to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. If you’re overweight, losing just 5% to 10% of your body weight can help lower your blood sugar levels. So, start making changes and don’t hesitate to consult professional help.