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The Link Between Diabetes and Obesity

Being overweight is more than just a body-image issue or a matter of vanity. Obesity leads to serious health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, the kind where your pancreas doesn’t process insulin properly.

If you have diabetes, you are among the 7.2 million Americans struggling to manage symptoms and keep your blood sugar balanced. If you are also overweight, you may be in a position to control your type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise. 

Dr. Betsy Horton and the expert team at Alpha Internal Medicine in Fayetteville can help you navigate the terrain on your diabetes journey. From initial testing and diagnosis to monitoring your condition, to medication if and when necessary. 

Meanwhile, it’s important to know the latest research regarding the link between obesity and diabetes, so you have the best chance of understanding and managing your diabetes.

Understanding obesity 

Obesity is not a derogatory term for someone who has put on a few pounds, it is actually a medical term with a definition. You are considered obese if your body mass index is 30 or higher and your chronic condition of being overweight causes adverse health issues. If you’re overweight or obese, you’re not alone

Understanding type 2 diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, your pancreas is producing insulin, but your cells have become immune or resistant to it. That’s bad because insulin is what processes glucose. When you can’t process glucose, your blood sugar skyrockets, and if left untreated or uncontrolled, high blood sugar can damage your nerves, blood vessels, and organs.

Understanding the relationship between obesity and type 2 diabetes

While researchers are still trying to figure out the exact cause of diabetes, they all agree that obesity puts you at a greater risk. However, not all obese people are diabetic, and not all diabetics are obese — so there is still much to learn. 

Here’s what we do know: being overweight stresses out your cells. There’s a network inside your cells called the endoplasmic reticulum, and when it gets an overload of nutrients (which happens when you overeat) it tells the cells to cut back the insulin receptors. And voila — insulin resistance. 

In essence, the act of overeating, which is common for many people categorized as obese, sends your system into a frenzy. Your body needs to process all the nutrients you put into it, and if you constantly overload it, it has no choice but to start adapting. What is meant to be a short-term, emergency-mode reaction to protect your body, suddenly becomes a long-term chronic condition — type 2 diabetes. 

While there is ongoing research regarding the connections between obesity and diabetes, one thing’s for sure — it’s best to keep your weight down to avoid diabetes and multiple other health issues.

If you have diabetes or suspect you might, call Dr. Horton at Alpha Internal Medicine today or click the “Book Online” button to schedule a consultation. Knowing all there is to know about the links between diabetes and your weight may save your life.

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