In the past few decades, Type 2 diabetes has quietly spread across our nation affecting nearly 50 million people and giving India the dubious distinction of being the “diabetes capital of the world”. Due to the lack of awareness about the disease and misconceptions about its management, a large number of people suffer from avoidable complications.
Living with Diabetes
Diabetes is characterised by the inability of body cells to properly utilize the metabolic hormone insulin. Insulin is important in controlling levels of blood sugar and diabetes can be caused either when the body is unable to produce enough insulin (Type 1) or when the target cells are unable to utilise insulin (Type 2) produced by the body. This results in too much glucose building up in the blood.
Type 1 Diabetes is a less common form of diabetes and is believed to be governed by genetic factors and infections while Type 2 Diabetes is more commonly found in adults and is considered a consequence of poor lifestyle choices such as erratic eating habits, sedentary lifestyle and weight gain.
A major factor linked to Type 2 Diabetes is obesity. Studies have shown that individuals who are obese (Body Mass Index between 28-38) or morbidly obese (BMI>38) are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and other co-morbidities like cardiovascular disease, infertility, hypertension, sleep apnea, liver diseases, depression and osteoarthritis. Obesity has long been considered a disease of the West and of the affluent classes, whereas the truth is that if affects nearly 1 in 5 males and 1 in 6 females in our country.
Putting on excess weight not only damages the musculo-skeletal tissues by exerting physical stress on them but also disrupts the delicate hormonal balance and other important regulatory chemicals in the body. A high percentage of fat in the body negatively impacts the ability of cells to utilise insulin and hence their ability to metabolize blood glucose. This imbalance stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin to try and compensate, thus giving rise to a Hyperinsulinaemia prior to the patient turning Diabetic.
Recent studies show, that aggressively treating obesity can not only help diabetics manage their sugar level better but in a large number of cases ALLOW FOR COMPLETE REVERSAL OF THE TYPE 2 DIABETES.
Dr Ravindran Kumeran FRCS
Laparoscopic Obesity Surgeon
Author can be contacted at the blog through obesityfoundationindia