Comorbidities: Type II Diabetes
to How Does Obesity Threaten Health?
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 ones 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.