How are Diabetes and Obesity Related?

Sheri Cyprus

Type 2 diabetes and obesity are related. Type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes, is not usually connected with obesity; it most often develops in childhood. However, there are an increasing number of younger people who get type 2 diabetes; childhood obesity is thought to be among the highest risk factors for it. Traditionally, only obese adults over 45 were at the highest risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Whereas type 1 diabetics can't produce insulin, people with type 2 diabetes are either resistant to the blood sugar-lowering hormone or the body produces doesn't produce enough of it to store sugar properly.

Childhood obesity is thought to be among the highest risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
Childhood obesity is thought to be among the highest risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

Since insulin stores sugar in the body, losing weight may be difficult for diabetics who take injections of it. Diabetes and obesity aren't only related in terms of risk factors, but many type 2 diabetics who must take insulin gain weight. While most diabetics are able to manage medication doses and insulin injections, balancing the proper amounts, as well as the kinds, of foods is difficult for about 80% of them.

There is a direct connection between prolonged physical inactivity and diabetes.
There is a direct connection between prolonged physical inactivity and diabetes.

Physical inactivity and diabetes are especially connected in type 2 diabetics taking insulin. Inactivity can result in even more weight gain, which could lead to obesity. A proper diet and exercise plan may limit or prevent weight gain and obesity when taking insulin. The connection between diabetes and obesity can be confusing to understand since one of the main symptoms of the disease is weight loss.

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Diabetics who experience unintended weight loss may have high glucose levels.
Diabetics who experience unintended weight loss may have high glucose levels.

Unintentional weight loss in diabetics may be caused by either very high blood sugar levels or dehydration. Frequent urination, caused by the increased thirst that often accompanies diabetes, can lead to dehydration. If blood sugar is too high, it may cause muscles to break down, which can initiate an unhealthy weight loss.

In some instances, there is little correlation between diabetes and weight gain.
In some instances, there is little correlation between diabetes and weight gain.

Maintaining a healthy weight is often extremely challenging for diabetics who are having difficulty balancing their blood sugar. If oral medication and insulin injections are no longer working, diabetics may have to eat more or less food, which can cause changes in weight. Overweight diabetics may become obese if they increase their food intake too much over a period of time. Diabetes and obesity isn't a good combination, as more medication may be needed to control blood sugar levels.

Pregnant women who gain too much weight are at a higher risk of gestational diabetes.
Pregnant women who gain too much weight are at a higher risk of gestational diabetes.

Weight gain over the recommended amount during pregnancy definitely relates to diabetes and obesity. Overweight women who become pregnant and gain too much weight have the highest risk of developing gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes occurs only during pregnancy, but having it places a higher risk factor for developing the type 2 version of the disease later.

Overweight people are at a greater risk of type 2 diabetes.
Overweight people are at a greater risk of type 2 diabetes.
A diabetic person who is concerned about the connection between diabetes and weight gain would probably benefit from making healthier lifestyle choices.
A diabetic person who is concerned about the connection between diabetes and weight gain would probably benefit from making healthier lifestyle choices.

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