Causes and Risk Factors for Diabetes
Obesity is one of the main causes of diabetes. Studies show that 60 to 85 percent of diabetics tend to be overweight. In the United States, about 80 percent of Type 2 non-insulin dependent diabetics are reported to be overweight. During the Second World War, when there was a decrease in the average weight of the people, the incidence of diabetes decreased dramatically. The greater the obesity, the greater the mortality rate due to complications of diabetes.
Excess fat prevents insulin from working properly. The more fatty tissue in the body, the more resistant the muscle and tissue cells become to body insulin. Insulin allows the sugar in the blood to enter the cells by acting on the receptor sites on the surface of the cells. When a person is overweight by 20 percent of the ideal weight or has high uric acid, or some syndromes, receptors are sparse and functionally idle. This is observed in patients developing diabetes around the age of 40 years and having Type 2 non-insulin dependent diabetes. It is estimated that the incidence of diabetes is four times higher in persons of moderate obesity and 3 times higher in persons of severe obesity. It has been rightly said: Heredity is like a cannon, and obesity pulls the trigger.
Older people often tend to gain weight, and the same time, many of them develop and mild form of diabetes. Those who are overweight can often improve their blood sugar simply by losing weight. In some cases, it is all that is required to bring blood sugar back into the normal range. Even small weight loss can have beneficial effects, reducing blood sugar levels or allowing medicines to work better. However, sudden weight gain may cause diabetes to return. It is therefore important for older people to keep their weight within a normal range. Among those detected to be diabetic, almost one-third are overweight.