Updated 15 February 2017

Why weight loss improves type 2 diabetic’s health

Most people who develop Type 2 diabetes are overweight, often obese.

Most people who develop Type 2 diabetes are overweight, often obese. Doctors believe there is a connection between the onset of Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

People with Type 2 diabetes have what is generally known as insulin resistance.

When people develop insulin resistance, they still produce insulin, but in insufficient quantities. The receptors that normally respond to the action of insulin start failing to be stimulated by it. The body sends distress signals to increase insulin production, which eventually starts to exhaust the pancreas, where insulin is produced in the body. Insulin enables glucose to enter the cells. When insulin is not available or does not work properly, glucose can't get to the cells. Because glucose can’t get to the cells, it starts building up in the bloodstream, causing the high blood sugar levels.

When someone is overweight, the pancreas works overtime to break down the fatty acids in their bloodstream. The less fatty acids a person consumes, the less work the pancreas is required to do and the less insulin is needed for the body to function properly.

With increased weight comes the added problem of possible high blood pressure, circulatory problems, and heart disease.

It follows, that as someone’s weight reduces and their general health improves as a result of exercise and a healthier diet, the risk of these diabetic complications diminish. The body’s insulin needs also diminish, thereby reducing the strain on the pancreas. Well-controlled blood glucose levels greatly reduce the chances of diabetic complications. - (Health24, October 2004)


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Dr. May currently works as a fulltime endocrinologist and has been in private practice since 2004. He has a variety of interests, predominantly obesity and diabetes, but also sees patients with osteoporosis, thyroid disorders, men's health disorders, pituitary and adrenal disorders, polycystic ovaries, and disorders of growth. He is a leading member of several obesity and diabetes societies and runs a trial centre for new drugs.

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