A road to avoid
If patients with pre-diabetes lose between 5 and 7% of their weight and they exercise half an hour every day, five days a week, the risk for developing diabetes type 2 Mellitus can be lowered by 60 percent in 3 years.
In Part I of these two articles I indicated that obesity is the major risk factor for Diabetes Type 2, also known as Diabetes Mellitus. To understand how obesity can take you to a diagnosis of diabetes type 2, let us check a few facts.
The first thing you need to be aware of is that obesity is what ignites the spark. The extra fat accumulated in your fat cells releases cytokines, a kind of proteins that cause inflammation. In particular, the abdominal fat and the one found around your internal organs such as the liver, the heart, etc, are the ones associated with inflammation, indicates Dr. Brent Wisse at the Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle.
According to Dr. Wisse, the cells that form the fat tissue secrete a number of molecules that seem to send signals to your body parts; these molecules start the inflammatory process. These signals in turn cause resistance to insulin, a state where the glucose in the blood cannot get into the cells. Therefore, inflammation within your fat tissue may be a first step which results in diabetes and atherosclerosis.
As you can see, there is a relationship between obesity, the inflammatory process, and the appearance of resistance to insulin. These three factors are associated with a risk increase for developing diabetes type 2 or diabetes mellitus.
As insulin resistance increases, your body cells panic because they are not getting their food, glucose, and thinking the problem is not enough insulin in the blood, they call the pancreas to produce more, so that glucose can enter the cells. Obediently, the pancreas releases more insulin into the blood which does no good because the fat cells refuse to let glucose enter. Eventually, these irregularities cause the glucose level in the blood to go up after meals although at this stage it still remains normal before meals.
All this commotion causes the general level of glucose in the blood to go up little by little. Finally the pancreas gets exhausted with this back and forth glucose business and can not produce enough insulin to keep the glucose in the blood within normal levels. Of course, this process does not happen overnight; it may take between 5 and 10 years in an adult and the end result is pre-diabetes. The same process goes much faster in children.
When the pancreas cannot satisfy the demand for insulin, glucose in the blood will reach levels where your doctor will diagnose diabetes type 2. At this point, patients need oral medication to lower the glucose in the blood, help the system to release more insulin, and reduce insulin resistance.
With time, the production of insulin decreases even more and many patients with diabetes type 2 need insulin shots to control glucose. If the resistance to insulin continues for a long time, oral medication plus insulin shots could be necessary.
As you may also know, diabetes can lead to heart and kidney complications as well as nerve damage in the legs and the eyes. Most patients with diabetes die of heart attacks, a powerful reason to follow a balance diet that protects your heart.
I hope your understanding of how obesity can lead to diabetes mellitus type 2 helps you take the necessary measures to prevent this terrible disease. And if you are serious about losing weight, please, dont embark in a crazy diet that offers you miracles in a few weeks because chances are it may not be a healthy diet and you will get those lost pounds back quite soon. Get yourself acquainted with the sound principles of healthy diets available to you. A good alternative is a Mediterranean diet since throughout many centuries this diet has protected the people of the Mediterranean basin from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and many other chronic diseases.