The Link Between Diabetes and Obesity

When you look at American health data, you can see two trend lines climbing upward together: the prevalence of diabetes (now at more than 100 million Americans) and the prevalence of obesity (today, roughly one-third of Americans live with obesity). This isn’t a coincidence. In fact, the connection between diabetes and obesity has led medical professionals to coin the term “diabesity.” 

Here at Houston Family Medical Doctor, our family medicine physician, Dr. Ranjit Grewal, has expertise in treating both diabetes and obesity. He’s here to help you address both conditions, finding treatments and/or lifestyle modifications so you can avoid the serious health complications that can come with each. 

Dr. Grewal also wants you to be educated about your overall health, so let’s take a moment to look at the link between diabetes and obesity. To do that, let’s first look at diabetes. 

The basics of diabetes

While type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed early in life, type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that usually develops later. You get diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when your body becomes resistant to insulin, the hormone produced by your pancreas that’s responsible for converting the sugar in your bloodstream into fuel for your cells.

When your body resists the action of insulin, it’s unable to regulate the levels of glucose (sugar) in your blood. Over time, the resulting high blood sugar levels can lead to some very serious cardiovascular issues, as well as nerve damage.

There’s a direct link between body weight and the development of type 2 diabetes. Adults with obesity are three to seven times more likely to get diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than adults with a healthy body mass index (BMI). And if your BMI is 35 or higher, you’re 20 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. 

Understanding the obesity-diabetes link

Today, medical researchers continue to study the relationship between body weight and insulin resistance. What we know for sure is that the data shows that there is a direct link between the two.

What’s more, this correlation works in the opposite direction. People who are prediabetic or newly diagnosed with diabetes can use exercise and weight loss to reverse the condition or avoid crossing over into type 2 diabetes.

To better understand the obesity-diabetes connection, it can be helpful to know that overeating without exercising puts a great deal of strain on your cells as they try to process the overload. In fact, it can be such a challenge that your cells may shut down their insulin receptors, leaving you with unregulated blood sugar levels. 

Long story short, obesity heightens your risk for type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, that means that you have an opportunity to make some lifestyle changes that may prevent a diagnosis altogether. 

Here at our Houston Family Medical Doctor, Dr. Grewal can tailor a medical weight loss program to help you move toward and maintain a healthy weight. If you’re ready to get started — and to take steps to avoid diabetes — call our office or book your appointment online today.

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