Type 2 diabetes: Obesity and other factors that up your risk of this disease

If you are obese, your cells will become less sensitive to the hormone insulin. @Shutterstock

Obesity is one of the main causes of type 2 diabetes. But along with this there are other health related conditions that may put you in the right risk group.

According to a recent report from the University of Glasgow, a national obesity crisis could see another two million people become diabetic in the next five years in the United Kingdom. The number of people with pre-diabetes has also increased from about 1.3million to almost two million in only a year. In Britain alone, diabetes affects almost four million people. All this takes a toll on taxpayer's money. Most of these people are between 40 and 64 years of age. Researchers say that the main reason behind this is obesity.

The situation is the same everywhere and India is no different. With unhealthy lifestyle, here too obesity is a problem that needs to be tackled on a war footing. Most diabetes cases in India too are a direct result of obesity.

Type 2 diabetes: What is it?

In type 2 diabetes, your body is unable to use insulin the way it is supposed to. Your body becomes insulin resistant and this leads to high levels of sugar in your blood stream. The pancreas produces the hormone insulin. This hormone is responsible for helping your cells convert glucose from the food you eat into energy. Unlike type 1 diabetes, where your body does not produce insulin, in type 2 diabetes, your cells don't use it as well as they should. In this condition, initially the pancreas produce more insulin to help cells convert glucose. But then, eventually, it is unable to keep up. This causes glucose to build up in your blood instead. Though it is usually seen in older individuals, even teenagers and children are prone to it nowadays. Genes play a role in this disease. But obesity is also responsible to a great extent.

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Obesity and its link with type 2 diabetes

Obesity is behind many serious health conditions. Diabetes is one such complication. If you are obese, your cells will become less sensitive to the hormone insulin. And, fat cells are more resistant to insulin than muscle cells. But if you lose even 10 per cent of your body fat, you can manage your diabetes and even significantly bring down your risk of this condition.

Many studies show that fat cells are more resistant to insulin than muscle cells. So, if you exercise, your muscles use the extra sugar that would otherwise have been diverted to your fat cells. This is why exercise is important.

Who are in the high-risk group?

Other than obesity, there are other factors that may increase your risk of diabetes. Hypertension and a high cholesterol level also increase your risk of this disease. Bad eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle are big contributors too.

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