Many people think of Type 2 diabetes as a condition that affects overweight or obese individuals. While it’s true that certain types of unhealthy weight gain can increase your risk of developing diabetes, the relationship between diabetes and weight is more complicated than simple cause and effect.
At Monrovia Internal Medicine & Primary Care of Duarte, California, primary care providers and urgent care specialists Dr. Ulin Sargeant and Dr. Razmik Thomassian support new and existing patients living with diabetes. We also offer insulin resistance testing to help you better understand your body’s relationship with the hormone insulin and your current risk of diabetes.
Here’s what we want our patients to understand about how you could be at risk for diabetes — even if you aren’t overweight — and how you can effectively mitigate your risk for developing diabetes.
Insulin and diabetes
Insulin helps the cells in organs and tissues around your body extract the glucose from your blood, an essential part of the digestion process. Your body breaks down the food you eat into glucose, but insulin is needed to help the glucose move across cell membranes.
Diabetes is a condition that results from issues with the way your body produces or uses the naturally occurring hormone insulin. If you have Type 1 diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t produce insulin. If you develop Type 2 diabetes, your body gradually becomes resistant to insulin, meaning you need more and more, which puts your pancreas into overdrive.
Only insulin allows your body to turn the food you eat into the energy that powers you. That’s why insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes can have such significant negative effects on your circulation and heart hearth.
Insulin and your weight
Insulin also causes your body to retain fat from the foods you eat. If your body is struggling with insulin resistance, you could develop unhealthy pockets of fat in your belly and around your liver, potentially resulting in hepatic steatosis (fatty liver disease). That’s one of the reasons why people tend to think of diabetes as a problem facing people who are overweight and obese.
However, while your weight does have some impact on your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, that’s not the whole story. While around 87% of adults in the United States with Type 2 diabetes are overweight, a substantial minority of adult Type 2 diabetes patients in the US — about 12% — have healthy body mass measurements.
Factors like genetics and lifestyle can matter as much as your body mass. It also appears to matter where you hold your weight. People with wider waistlines and more belly fat are more at risk for developing diabetes than people with other different body fat distributions.
If you have insulin resistance or are prediabetic, healthy weight loss might be part of the answer to get your whole-body health back on track. If your weight is healthy or normal and testing still indicates problems with your insulin levels, Dr. Sargeant and her team can help you put together a diabetes prevention plan.
To learn more about how your body is doing with insulin resistance and how you can take action to prevent diabetes, get in touch with the primary care doctors at Monrovia Internal Medicine & Primary Care today. Schedule your initial consultation appointment through our virtual office now!