Obesity induced diabetes is all around us. It is one of those moments that is forever fixed in my mind. It was a Sunday about three years ago that my perspective totally changed and my resolve solidified. I was given a glimpse of how many people view their health status: totally out of their control. She sat there with a donut in one hand and a soda in the other. A forlorn look covered her face. She spoke slowly, “Please pray for me. They say that I’m getting diabetes.” She said it like it was a sentence being bestowed on her and that there was nothing that she could do about it.
I bit my tongue. I knew that the real prayer for her would be for lifestyle change. She was merely 20 years old, already accomplished in her area of study, and at least 50 pounds overweight. I also knew she felt totally like a victim in the area of diabetes. She had absolutely no idea that this diagnosis could alter her life’s dreams and likely shorten her life. She also had no idea that she could reverse this pending diagnosis.
So why does a diagnosis of Diabetes matter? Type 2 Diabetes is characterized by chronically high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia). This is caused by the body’s failure to produce enough insulin or by the cell’s resistance to the insulin produced. Insulin allows the body’s tissues to use glucose for energy. The impact of diabetes goes beyond chronic hyperglycemia. Type 2 Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness (retinopathy), end-stage kidney diseases (diabetic nephropathy) and non-traumatic amputations of the lower limbs (diabetic neuropathy).
People with obesity induced diabetes are two to four times more likely to experience cardiovascular complications and strokes. In 2012, the National Institute of Health reported an estimated 29.1 million Americans were living with diabetes. Of these, an estimated 8.1 million were unaware that they had the disease. The sad truth: The increase in the occurrence of diabetes in the United States is mostly due to the increase in obesity.
So how does obesity affect diabetes? The single best predictor of Type 2 Diabetes is being overweight. Excess weight, especially belly fat, stresses the body’s ability to use insulin properly to control blood glucose levels. The body can actually develop resistance toward the insulin.
The link between Obesity and Diabetes is so strong that the term “Diabesity” has be coined. There is good news if you or a loved one have Type 2 Diabetes! You have power over this disease! START SOMEWHERE today and change one thing. Losing as little as ten pounds greatly reduces your risk. That Sunday three years ago started my journey of more education in order to have the credentials to help people by educating and encouraging them about obesity induced diabetes and other health issues. Join me as we talk about some simple places to begin.