OBESITY, INSULIN RESISTANCE AND THE SPREAD OF DIABETES
Pre-Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes and Gestational
Diabetes are among the various forms of a disease
which is already one of the major health crises of the
21st Century. The number of cases of Diabetes in its different
variations is almost triple what it was 50 years ago, with
150 million people now affected throughout the world.
Currently, five million deaths are caused by Diabetes each
year worldwide. The figure is set to rise dramatically as
obesity – a root case of Diabetes – reaches epidemic
proportions. The number of Diabetes cases is likely to double
to 300 million by 2025. Research suggests that 80% of
Diabetes sufferers will eventually die of a heart attack
In America, doctors have warned that the shocking increase
in Diabetes cases and other chronic diseases stemming from
the spread of obesity could reverse a long upward trend and
lead to a fall in overall life expectancy. They calculated
that life expectancy figures in the U.S. would already be
up to a year longer if there was no obesity. But life expectancy
in America could go down by five years or more over the coming
decades if obesity levels continue to grow.
"How bad is the Type 2 Diabetes epidemic?" asks
Dr. Frank Vinicor, associate director for public health practice
at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"There are several ways of telling. One way might be
(to list) how many different occurrences [there are] in a
24-hour period of time... So [during that time there will
be] 4,100 people diagnosed with Diabetes, 230 amputations
in people with Diabetes, 120 people with Diabetes who enter
end-stage kidney disease programs and 55 people who go blind
"That's going to happen every day, on the weekends
and on the Fourth of July. That's Diabetes."
Dr. Vinicor was talking about a disorder in which the body
either fails to produce enough insulin or does not use insulin
properly to convert sugar, or glucose, in the blood stream
into energy. Pre-Diabetes is a reversible condition
that occurs when a person's blood glucose levels are higher
than normal but are not in the range of Type 2 Diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes is a glucose and insulin disorder than
often strikes pregnant women.
Genetics can play a part in the development of various forms
of Diabetes and people with a family history of the condition
are at greater risk of developing the disorder. So, too,
are individuals who suffer from Insulin Resistance, a disorder
caused by an imbalance of sugar and insulin in the blood
stream, which may lead to weight gain and obesity and result
in the onset of Pre-Diabetes.
Both Insulin Resistance and Pre-Diabetes are reversible
but, if left unchecked, can lead to Type 2 Diabetes – a
serious condition that, in the vast majority of cases, can
only be managed for the rest of a Diabetic's life and may
require daily injections of insulin.
Type 2 Diabetes, itself, is a severely increased risk factor
for blindness, heart and kidney disease and the need for
amputation. It used to mainly affect older people. But, as
obesity levels grow, the disease has begun to claim ever
younger victims, including obese children.
Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented from taking hold, however,
by reversing the symptoms of obesity-related Insulin
Resistance and Pre-Diabetes through weight loss via
a balanced, nutritious diet and regular exercise.
Insulin Resistance causes an imbalance in glucose and insulin
levels in the blood stream, which can stem from an unhealthy
lifestyle comprising little or no exercise and a poor diet
without proper nutrition.
Reversing Insulin Resistance can increase insulin sensitivity,
which, in turn, can reverse the symptoms of Pre-Diabetes.