Obesity can make your body home for diabetes

Obesity is the single best predictor of whether a person will develop Type 2 diabetes later in life
Obesity can make your body home for diabetes

HYDERABAD: Around the world, more than one billion adults are overweight and about 300 million of them are obese. Obesity in India has reached epidemic proportions in the 21st century, with morbid obesity affecting 5% of the country’s population. India is following a trend of other developing countries that are steadily becoming more obese. Unhealthy, processed food has become much more accessible following India’s continued integration in global food markets.

Type 2 diabetes and obesity threaten the health, well-being and economic welfare of virtually every country in the world. The prevalence of both the conditions has assumed epidemic proportions worldwide. The obesity epidemic is likely to drive the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes even higher than the current forecasts.

India has the largest number of diabetics in the world and obesity is also on the rise, particularly affecting the younger population. Indian National Family Health Survey 2005-2006, NFHS-3 data showed that “12.6% of Indian women were obese (23.5% urban and 7.4% rural). Among men, the total prevalence of obesity was 9.7% (15.9% urban and 5.6% rural).By 2025, India will have over 17 million obese children and stand second among 184 countries. Obesity is the single best predictor of whether a person will develop Type 2 diabetes.

If you are overweight or obese (characterized by a body-mass index greater than 30), you have an exponentially higher risk of developing diabetes during your lifetime. In fact, almost 90 per cent of people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. Type 2 diabetes and obesity are associated with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the key to understanding the link between obesity and diabetes.
The pancreas produces insulin, which helps the sugar we eat become fuel for cells in the muscles, fat, and liver to use for energy. Insulin resistance, however, reduces the ability of these cells to use the sugar for energy. This is more likely to occur in people who are overweight since excess fat makes the cells less responsive to insulin, causing insulin resistance. There is also scientific evidence showing that fat cells are more insulin resistant than muscle cells. In other words, insulin is less effective in people who are overweight, causing glucose in the bloodstream to remain high.

Obesity has a far-ranging negative effect on health. There’s a greater chance of developing diabetes or high blood pressure, which are the leading causes of kidney disease and kidney failure. The prevalence of most cardiovascular risk factors is with the increase of obesity.

The impact of obesity on the liver can be quite dangerous; it causes fat deposits in the liver – the fatty liver tissue can become inflamed and the liver cells can be damaged or destroyed.Endocrinologists point out that poor sleep negatively affects blood sugar levels and also disrupts many other bodily processes like cholesterol and blood pressure.

These problems are much worse in obese individuals. Unfortunately, many people with Type 2 diabetes do suffer from poor sleep. You can cut your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by losing weight, eating a balanced diet, getting adequate sleep, and exercising more. If you already have it, losing weight and becoming more physically active can help control your blood sugar levels. Becoming more active may also reduce your need for diabetes medication. Losing as little as five to 10 per cent of your weight has been found to result in drastic improvements in overall health and well-being, which in turn reduce diabetes risk.

(The writer is senior consultant, surgical gastroenterology, at Gleneagles Global Hospital)

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