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The Link Between Obesity and Diabetes

The Link Between Obesity and Diabetes

Having obesity puts you at a higher risk of developing diabetes. In fact, you’re six times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you’re obese. The good news is — you can take steps to reduce your risk.

At Summit Primary Care, board-certified family physician Lawrence Scott Wilner, DO, offers diabetes diagnosis and treatment.

Do all obese people develop diabetes?

It is possible to be obese without developing diabetes, but your risk for it and other health conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol increase if you’re overweight. If you already have diabetes, obesity causes the disease to worsen faster.

Diabetes is a condition in which you have too much sugar circulating in your bloodstream. The pancreas is supposed to manage the level of glucose by producing the insulin hormone to move the sugar out of your blood.

In healthy individuals without diabetes, insulin transports glucose to muscles for energy. Any unused glucose is stored in the liver until it’s needed. But if you’re obese and have diabetes, your cells resist insulin and won’t accept the glucose. 

When you’re obese, the liver is filled with fat, which means it doesn’t have room to store the excess glucose, and the glucose has nowhere to go except to remain in your bloodstream.

As a result, the pancreas creates more insulin because of the increased glucose levels in your bloodstream, overworking the pancreas until it’s unable to produce enough insulin.

The effects weight loss has on diabetes

Since diabetes is worsened with obesity, losing weight helps improve the condition. If you don’t yet have diabetes, losing weight can greatly reduce your risk of developing it. If Dr. Wilner prescribes medication to help your pancreas produce enough insulin, losing weight can help reduce the amount of medication needed or even help you go off medication completely.

People with type 2 diabetes see improvements to their diabetes by losing as little as 5-10% of their overall body weight and consuming a low-carbohydrate diet. Increasing your exercise helps, too. 

As the extra weight around your waist decreases, the fat around your liver and pancreas also decreases and enables your body to produce and utilize insulin properly, or accept the insulin medication you use better.

If you think you might have diabetes, schedule an appointment at one of our three Summit Primary Care locations in Denver, Colorado Springs, or Pueblo, Colorado, to learn diabetes management techniques and receive a customized treatment plan.

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