November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Did you know that excess weight and obesity can increase your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes? Let’s explore the link and break down the information you should know.
Fast Facts about Diabetes:
- Approximately 34 million children and adults have diabetes in the U.S.
- Diabetes includes a group of diseases that cause elevated blood sugar levels in the body.
- It can damage blood vessels and organs while increasing your risk of heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and nerve damage.
- Nutrition and exercise can help manage diabetes, but tracking blood sugar levels is also important. Treatment may include taking insulin or other medications.
Types of Diabetes:
There are 4 main types of diabetes:
- Type 1: The body does not make insulin.
- Type 2: The body does not make enough insulin or does not use insulin properly.
- Prediabetes: Blood sugar levels are higher than what they should be, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
- Gestational Diabetes: Pregnant women are unable to make and use the insulin they need during pregnancy.
Impact of Excess Weight on Diabetes
There are many factors that can lead to developing diabetes, one of which includes excess weight. Excess weight is a significant risk factor in developing Type 2 Diabetes, specifically.
Too many fat cells in the body can lead to insulin resistance. This is when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin and can’t use glucose from your blood for energy. To make up for it, the pancreas tries to produce more insulin. This makes your blood sugar levels higher over time. In someone without diabetes, their cells respond normally to insulin and use it to break down carbohydrates for energy. Their blood sugar levels are more stable.
Improving Your Health and Managing Diabetes
Fortunately, lifestyle changes, and working with a healthcare provider can help you manage diabetes, reverse it, or prevent it altogether. Here are some tips.
- Maintain a healthy and balanced diet and exercise regularly.
- Schedule a visit with your healthcare provider if you are concerned about your risk or want help managing your diabetes.
- Track your blood sugar levels and/or get them checked.
- Talk to your doctor about a treatment plan, follow through with the plan prescribed, and adjust your plan as needed.
For more information about diabetes, visit Diabetes.org. For more information about the effects of excess weight and obesity on diabetes, click here and here for resources from the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC).