You Don’t Have to Be Overweight to Develop Diabetes
Most people tend to think of diabetes as a disease of overweight sugar addicts, but that’s a dangerously misleading assumption. In reality, there is a surprising number of people who are not overtly overweight, but are what’s known as metabolically obese – showing signs of insulin resistance and hypertriglyceridemia (high level of fat in the blood). This puts the body at risk for type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.
In fact, many people develop type 2 diabetes without fitting the typical description, and that can have terrible consequences for the thinner diabetic.
Diabetes Complications in Thinner People
Although experts agree that carrying too much extra weight will increase your risk of developing diabetes, there is a bit of a paradox among those who already have diabetes: thinner diabetics tend to have more severe complications.
Research shows that diabetics in a normal weight range are twice as likely to die from a heart attack or stroke as those patients who are overweight or obese (according to their body mass index, or BMI), and they’re also at greater risk for other serious disorders.
It’s unclear why diabetics with bigger BMIs seem to live longer and with fewer complications, but the evidence suggests that there’s more at play than the number on the scale when it comes to diabetes. Muscle mass, body measurements, and fitness level all factor into your disease risk and your chances of suffering from a fatal coronary event.
Factors that May Lead to Insulin Resistance
Since weight is clearly not the only issue, it’s important to determine what other factors might be putting you at risk for type 2 diabetes.
Although obesity may not explain everything, recent research suggests that a few aspects related to weight gain could be contributing to the surge in metabolic obesity among people who maintain a normal weight:
One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who were overweight but had relatively small waistlines were in less danger of premature death than normal weight people with relatively big bellies.
How do you know if your waist measurement is big enough to put you at risk? One straightforward approach is to convert your height to inches, and divide the number by two – that’s your maximum waist circumference limit.
Next page: the good news for thin diabetics.