Weight loss crucial for controlling type 2 diabetes

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Weight loss crucial for controlling type 2 diabetes

The problem of American adults being either overweight or obese continues to be a major health issue.  According to the National Institutes of Health more than 65 percent of American adults fall into this category of being overweight or obese.  Carrying excess weight increases the risk of developing high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, some types of cancer, kidney and gallbladder disorders and also type 2 diabetes.

Because of the rise in retaining excess weight, the incidence of type 2 diabetes has also steadily increased over the years.  Currently, the American Diabetes Association estimates about 29.1 million Americans have diabetes and 86 million Americans have prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which fasting blood glucose levels are elevated but not yet to the level indicated for type 2 diabetes.

Why losing weight is necessary for type 2 diabetes

About eight out of every ten people with type 2 diabetes are overweight to obese.  Many of them carry their excess weight around the belly area which is a major cause of type 2 diabetes.  It's not just how much people weigh, but also where they carry the weight, putting them at greater risk for health problems. People who carry more weight around their waist -- an "apple-shape" -- are more likely to suffer from obesity related problems than someone who is "pear-shaped," or carries more weight in their hips and thighs.

When someone is given a diagnosis of type diabetes, one of the main forms of treatment is to find a balance of healthy eating and exercise.  Most people with type 2 diabetes are advised to lose weight and improve their physical fitness which can reduce weight and resistance to insulin.  The severity of complications from type 2 diabetes can be decreased by maintaining a healthy body weight.

Weight loss for someone with diabetes does not mean that the person has to lose necessarily a great deal of weight.  Even a modest weight loss of 7-10 pounds or about 5-7% of their current body weight can have benefits for a person’s health and reduction of diabetic complications.

What is recommended is to lose weight slowly and steadily by using dietary changes and exercise.  When weight loss is accomplished in this manner, someone with diabetes will see the beneficial effects on the heart, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. 

In addition, weight loss can reduce insulin resistance by making the muscles and fat tissues more sensitive to circulating insulin levels in the blood.  A reduction in insulin resistance is important because insulin is needed to help glucose enter these tissues to be metabolized.  If these tissues are resistant to insulin, higher than normal levels are needed for this process to occur.

Even if someone with diabetes is currently overweight, losing a moderate amount of weight can dramatically slow the progression of the disease.

How weight loss helps someone with type 2 diabetes

·      Will help their body use its own insulin better

·      May reduce the need for medicine to treat your diabetes

·      Can improve cholesterol levels

·      Can reduce the risk for heart disease

·      Can lower blood pressure

·      Can help a person gain better management of their diabetes

·      Can result in more energy and overall feeling better

How to start and achieve a weight loss program

There will always be a lot of diet and gimmicks for weight loss but the only sure way to lose weight and keep it off is to change lifestyle habits particularly of eating healthy and exercising.  The safest and best way to lose weight is to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week.  Here are a few ways to get started:

·      Set realistic goals.  Don’t set goals so high that they are too hard to follow making success unrealistic. 

·      Seek support from family and friends. 

·      Make changes slowly.  Don’t try to make too many changes all at once.  This can be overwhelming and can set a person up for failure.  Instead, take one step at a time.

·      Eat slowly.  It takes the brain about 20 minutes to know when the stomach is full so eating slowing helps you feel satisfied on less food. 

·      Eat three meals a day.  Don’t skip meals or restrict food intake as this can set up a situation of overeating plus it negatively affects blood sugar levels.

·      Embrace exercise.  Regular, consistent exercise is essential for helping to reach and especially, maintain a healthy body weight.  Start off slowly and gradually build up to at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week.