Why are Diabetes and Excess Weight Closely Linked?

This November, in recognition of Diabetes Awareness Month, we’d like to explore the close connection between obesity and diabetes — and why it’s so important to treat both. 

Rates of obesity and diabetes are going up at alarming rates, and the fact that both are on the rise at the same time is not a coincidence. Not everyone with diabetes is overweight, but obesity and inactivity are the two most significant contributors to diabetes development. 

In fact, about 95% of diabetes cases in the United States are caused by these two key problems. People who are obese are six times more likely to develop diabetes compared to those who are at a healthy body weight.

To make the problem worse, diabetes medicines may cause some people to gain weight. This unhealthy cycle is a crisis in the U.S. Why? By losing weight, you can actually put your diabetes in remission or reduce symptoms and complications. 

At Michael Sutker, MD, in Dallas and McKinney, Texas, board-certified bariatric and general surgeon Dr. Michael Sutker can perform weight loss surgery to help you lose weight if you’re struggling to do so on your own. Often, bariatric surgery can help improve or even reverse type 2 diabetes. 

Here, Dr. Sutker explains the connection between diabetes and excess weight. 

What is diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune condition that’s typically diagnosed in children and young adults. It occurs when the body doesn’t produce an adequate amount of insulin or any insulin at all. Insulin is a vital hormone that helps move glucose, or blood sugar, from your blood to your cells for energy. Those with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin daily to maintain a healthy glucose level in their blood. 

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces insulin, but your body becomes resistant to it and stops using it properly. This state, known as insulin resistance or prediabetes, causes excess sugar to build up in your bloodstream. Obesity, poor dietary patterns, and inactivity are primary causes of type 2 diabetes. 

How are obesity and diabetes connected? 

If you have excess weight, especially around your abdominal area, your body’s cells become less responsive to insulin. This condition is called insulin resistance. When this happens, your pancreas must produce more insulin to keep blood sugar levels in check, which can lead to a higher risk of developing full-blown type 2 diabetes. 

Additionally, if you have diabetes, excess weight can exacerbate your symptoms and make the disease harder to manage. Conversely, losing weight can significantly reduce symptoms and even cause your diabetes to go into remission.

If you’re having trouble losing weight on your own, we can help. Call or click online to schedule an appointment at Michael Sutker, MD, in Dallas and McKinney, Texas, today — we can go over your options and see if you’re a candidate for weight loss surgery.

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