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The Link Between Obesity and Diabetes

When you think about losing weight, you might focus on fitting into your favorite jeans. However, improved health is known to be the biggest motivator behind making the life changes necessary to lose weight and keep it off. In fact, some 73% of Americans want to lose weight to avoid health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. 

You’ve heard that being overweight or obese puts additional stress on your body that can cause a wide range of health issues. But what is the link between obesity and health issues like diabetes?

Linking obesity and diabetes

If you weigh 20% more than your ideal body weight, you are classified as obese. When you’re carrying around all that extra weight, it triggers changes in your body that affect the way you use insulin. Obesity may contribute to up to 85% of the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes


When you’re obese, your fat cells have to process more nutrients than possible. This creates stress in your cells that leads to an inflammatory response, which triggers the release of cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that block insulin receptors. 

Over time, your cells grow resistant to insulin. This might sound familiar, as Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes are often referred to as insulin resistance. Cytokine production and insulin resistance are even more prevalent if you carry a lot of your extra weight around your abdomen. 

Chemical changes in your blood

A recent study showed that obesity changes the chemicals in the immunoglobulins in your blood. The research revealed that the abnormal immunoglobulins inhibited the enzyme that transfers the insulin from your blood into your muscles. 

If your insulin can’t get into your muscles, it can’t convert glucose into energy. As a result, your blood sugar levels increase, eventually developing into Type 2 diabetes. 

Metabolic changes

Obesity also affects your metabolism, triggering other chemical changes in your body. When your metabolism is abnormal, it causes changes throughout your body, including mutations in your fat cells. Your fatty tissue releases fat molecules into your blood, which also reduces your insulin sensitivity.

You can reduce your risk of diabetes

The good news — if you lose weight, you can reduce your risk of diabetes. If you’re obese, losing just 5% of your weight can reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes by 50% or more. Diabetes can cause a wide range of health complications, including heart disease and blindness. It’s also a leading cause of lower extremity amputation.

What do I need to do to lose weight?

Contact Rel L. Gray, MD and schedule a weight loss consultation. We’ve been helping people like you lose weight and improve their health for over 35 years, and we have clients from all over the United States. 

We offer customized weight loss programs that include: meal plans that are delicious, filling, and calorie-controlled; exercise; prescription medication; and the support of a team of professionals who want to help you succeed. Throughout your program, you learn about nutrition and exercise and make healthy lifestyle changes that will help you keep the weight off for good. 

If you’re ready to change your life for the better, improve your health, and reduce your risk of diabetes and other obesity-related diseases, call us, send us a message here on our website, or request an appointment using our convenient booking feature today. 

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