Understanding the Link between Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity

If you are overweight, you may already know that you are at risk for Type 2 Diabetes. In fact, nearly 85% of people diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes are overweight. This chronic disease is caused by elevated blood sugar levels. As glucose builds up in your bloodstream, these high levels starve your cells of energy. Overtime, high glucose levels can do permanent damage to your internal organs.

In addition to being overweight, risk factors include a family history of the illness, having high blood pressure, being of African-American, Hispanic, or Native American descent, and having high cholesterol. While this disease once struck only older Americans, obese teens are increasingly at risk for Type 2 Diabetes.

Symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, blurred vision, fatigue, dehydration, tingling in the extremities and increased frequency and volume of urination. Some people with Type 2 Diabetes do not exhibit any symptoms until serious damage to internal organs has occurred. Type 2 Diabetes can lead to coronary artery disease, kidney disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, frequent infections and circulation problems.

Weight loss surgery is an important step for long-term, medical weight loss. Losing weight through bariatric surgery and lifestyle changes can significantly lower your risk for Type 2 Diabetes. Following weight loss surgery, lifestyle changes that incorporate regular physical activity and a healthy diet can help you continue to reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes. According to the National Institutes of Health Diabetes Prevention Program, losing just 5 to 7% of your body weight in conjunction with regular physical activity can delay or prevent Type 2 Diabetes.

If you are overweight and at risk for Type 2 Diabetes, talk to your doctor about medical weight loss such as bariatric surgery. Even if you have a significant amount of weight to lose, weight loss surgery is an important first step for protecting your health.