Comorbidities: Type II Diabetes

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Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common complications of obesity. Along with a significant rise in the number of people considered obese, there has also been a large increase in type 2 diabetes in the population. This is the type of diabetes found in about 85-90% of diabetics. It is caused by the body not being sensitive to the hormone insulin, which is produced by the pancreas, and not making enough insulin to keep the level of sugar in the blood normal. If blood sugar remains high over many years, complications such as blindness, kidney failure, nerve disease and diseases of the heart and blood vessels may develop.

Type 2 diabetes tends to run in families. If a person has a parent with type 2 diabetes, they are at high risk for getting the disorder. The risk of getting type 2 diabetes may be limited by preventing excessive weight gain throughout life and staying as physically active as possible. As one’s weight increases, the chance of getting type 2 diabetes rises significantly.

Treatment of type 2 diabetes involves a combination of attention to diet, physical activity and different classes of oral medications and insulin, an injectable medicine. It is well established that even a 5-10% weight loss with a medical plan may lead to improvement in blood sugar readings by allowing the body to become more sensitive to insulin. With larger amounts of weight loss such as that seen after gastric bypass surgery, type 2 diabetes may go into a "remission" (become controlled by diet and activity alone without medications).

At the Obesity Consultation Center, diabetes care is incorporated into the treatment plan of overweight people with diabetes. Consultation with the staff endocrinologist, Dr. Richard Siegel, is available and a dietary plan appropriate for management of both diabetes and obesity will be discussed.

For more information about type 2 diabetes, see the Web site of the American Diabetes Association and the diabetes section of the Web site of the National Institutes of Health.





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