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Diabetes And Obesity: Does Obesity Cause Diabetes?

  • timeline Anoush Gomes
  • 4 Min Read
  • Fact Checked

Diabetes is one of the main chronic illnesses that has been affecting a large number of Indian citizens. While there has been awareness being raised around the condition, along with active screening for it, it’s important to understand the factors that can contribute to the condition. One of the main risk factors to consider is diabetes and obesity. How does your BMI affect your sugar levels? Can reducing your weight help cure diabetes? Does obesity cause diabetes? These are the type of questions this article will answer. Information about an illness that is seemingly sweeping the nation at an alarming rate should be paid attention to.

There are three types of Diabetes:
(1) Type 1 Diabetes: This is autoimmune in nature which means the body attacks its own cells which stops the body from making the insulin it needs.
(2) Type 2 Diabetes: In this condition, the body does not use the insulin that it does make in a proper manner. It is unable to control the sugar levels present in the blood.
(3) Gestational Diabetes:  Seen in pregnant women who don’t have a history of diabetes
.

Does obesity cause diabetes?

From the gist of it, Diabetes can be the result of your body unable to make enough insulin or because it’s unable to properly use the insulin it does make. But, how does obesity play a role in all this? Why is diet and exercise important for diabetics?

As per experts, being overweight or obese increases the changes of developing Diabetes – more specifically Type 2 diabetes.
Obesity definition: BMI >30. 

Obesity in itself is considered to be a chronic condition that deeply affects physical health. Beside Diabetes, it can also lead to other chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, and increased blood pressure. 

Being obese results in your body having increased levels of fatty acids which can further result in inflammation. Insulin resistance, caused by increased fatty acid levels, can then result in Type 2 Diabetes. While this may seem like a long chain of events, the cases of obesity linked with diabetes are rising. Alarmingly, Type 2 diabetes is the most common of all three types of diabetes. They suffer from insulin resistance which causes the increase of glucose in the body resulting in high sugar in the blood aka Diabetes.

Diabetes symptoms

(1) Increased thirst
(2) Frequent urination
(3) Increased fatigue
(4) Increased hunger

It’s important to treat Diabetes because the condition worsening can lead to other complications such as ketoacidosis or even strokes. Besides medications such as Metformin, the treatment for Type 2 Diabetes heavily focuses on lifestyle changes with
diet and exercise. 

If you or your loved one is experiencing any symptoms of Diabetes, consulting a diabetologist should be a priority. A Diabetes screening test – much like other screening tests – can help either prevent the illness or help with early detection. There is no cure for Diabetes, but it’s important that it be managed and controlled. If your diabetologist has suggested that obesity is aggravating your Diabetes, then it’s time to make a change.

5 common causes of obesity

(1) Decreased physical activity: Weight Loss is caused by burning more calories than you consume. Individuals that burn less calories a day, while routinely consuming calories throughout the day can experience drastic weight gain. 

(2) Increased calorie intake: Whether it be because of stress or an unbalanced diet, most individuals that are overweight tend to overeat or binge-eat. Usually these foods are processed junk, high in sugar and fat, and have a load of calories. Having a balanced diet is important – especially for Diabetics.

(3) Medications: Individuals that are to take medications for medical conditions can experience rapid weight gain as a medication side effect. Some medications that can cause obesity if not controlled include: oral contraceptives, antidepressants and corticosteroids. Should this be the reason you’ve gained weight exacerbating your Diabetes, speaking to a dietician along with a diabetologist can help get your BMI back on a healthy track.

(4)
Hereditary: As per research, genetics can play a role in obesity. It has been revealed that an individual has a higher risk of obesity and it’s associated complications if both of their parents were obese.

(5)
Medical conditions: There are medication conditions that can directly or indirectly affect hormonal levels which can cause weight fluctuation. Conditions such as hypothyroidism and
PCOS can lead to weight gain. Should you exhibit symptoms of any of the mentioned illnesses consulting with a general physician or a gynecologist can nip the severity progress of the condition in the bud. 

Watch the video below to quickly know the 5 superfoods recommended for Diabetics.  

Reducing your body weight to a healthy BMI can greatly affect your body’s insulin sensitivity positively. It can further lower your risk of developing chronic illnesses such as Diabetes and other conditions that can affect your cardiovascular and metabolic system. 

How to prevent diabetes and obesity complications

(1) Stay active:
Working out – even a stroll – for 30 minutes a day can positively affect your metabolism which in turn can keep your BMI in check.

(2) Treat medical conditions
As mentioned above, there are medical conditions such as PCOS that can cause a rapid increase in weight. Should you experience unexpected weight gain with any other symptoms, speaking to a doctor can help determine the possible underlying medical cause. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, it can only worsen a chronic condition.

(3) Eat a well balanced diet:
While we all love junk food, they are notorious for increased carbohydrates, sugar and cholesterol levels. All of these can worsen insulin resistance along with increasing cholesterol levels and blood pressure. This can quickly lead to complications in diabetics. 

Watch the video by Dr. Pooja Bohora  below to understand what an ideal diet for a diabetic entails.

(4) Quit smoking:
Smoking  can affect blood circulation by inducing a chronic inflammatory state and also increases cholesterol levels, which can cause complications in diabetics.

(5) Reduce alcohol intake
Besides the high caloric intake of alcohol which can cause weight gain, it can also affect your body’s blood vessels and affects how the liver metabolizes sugars. This can cause complications in vital organs such as your eyes and kidneys.

It is advised to speak to a dietitian before making any dietary changes or following any restricted diet. Every individual has different requirements and some diets may not work well for you. Ensuring that your BMI is under control can help with many health concerns in the future. 

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