What is Diabesity? – A combination of Obesity & Diabetes

Credits: Open Access Government

Obesity is considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global health pandemic. It is not new information that for many years, many people worldwide have been diagnosed as overweight or obese. The condition is specifically an imposed threat to so-called developed countries, including Asian nations like Singapore. Moreover, 80% of overweight and obese people worldwide are also diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The occurrence has become so common that the term “diabesity” was coined.

The link between excessive weight gain and metabolic deficiencies like diabetes has now become somewhat of a typical logic among many. It is due to the staggering number of cases established earlier. However, people’s knowledge regarding the two mentioned factors is not as comprehensive beyond that direct association. To add, the term “diabesity” is not commonly used in conversations regarding weight-related medical conditions.

So, in this article, we’ll learn more about “diabesity” and some specific information you need to know about the phenomena. Hopefully, you’ll get enough information to become more aware of the condition and guide you in preventing its development.

Credits: Zen Healthcare

What is Diabesity?

As the name suggests, diabesity is the combination of diabetes and obesity. The term was coined in the 70s to describe the relationship between excessive weight gain and the development of diabetes, specifically type 2 diabetes. It had another resurgence when “Shape Up America!”, a nonprofit education organization against obesity, trademarked the term. Since then, diabesity has been often used among medical professionals.

Although the term has existed for quite a while, it is not that often you hear it in the lexicon about weight problems. With that said, the concept of diabesity is something many people are familiar with. Many people are somewhat aware of the correlation between weight gain and the development of diabetes, specifically type 2 diabetes, as mentioned earlier.

Even so, diabetes can develop even without the problem of excessive weight gain. Risk factors may include age and a family history of the condition. It can also be said that not all overweight and obese people are automatically susceptible to diabetes. A small percentile of these cases does not lead to the development of the metabolic condition, as implied by the mentioned statistics. So, diabesity is often used to refer to cases of diabetes within the context of obesity.

Credits: Diabetes Self Management

How is Obesity linked with Diabetes?

Again, while it is common to hear that obesity and diabetes are linked to each other, not many know why. Before we delve deeper, let’s get a refresher on the description of the two conditions separately.

Credits: Obesity Action Coalition

Obesity is the abnormal or excessive fat accumulation in the body. A person’s Body Mass Index (BMI) is a common precursor for diagnosing the condition. A BMI of 25 to 30 is categorized overweight, while a BMI of more than 30 is considered obese. On the other hand, a BMI of more than 40 is already considered morbidly obese. A higher BMI signifies a more severe case of weight gain, making you susceptible to health complications like diabetes.

Credits: Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that occurs when your blood glucose, commonly referred to as blood sugar, is too high. Blood sugar is the body’s primary source of energy, coming from the food you eat. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that transports glucose -to be used as energy- from the food to your cells. However, sometimes, the body doesn’t make enough insulin, retaining sugar in the blood. An imbalanced amount of sugar in the blood causes health risks.

Obesity is commonly defined as being 20% heavier than your ideal weight. The heavier you are, the more fat in your body. Obesity due to excessive eating leads to having more visceral fat in the body. Visceral fat surrounds the major internal organs, including the pancreas, liver, kidneys, and heart. The accumulation of fat around the pancreas plays a significant role in insulin resistance. It means that even if the body produces insulin, the cells do not respond appropriately to it. As a result, the pancreas then reduces the amount of insulin it makes over time, increasing the risk of developing diabetes.

Which Type of Diabetes is involved in Diabesity?

Credits: Prevention.com

Both variants affect the way your body regulates glucose or blood sugar. The key difference between them is their insulin reaction. People with type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin in their bodies. On the other hand, for people with type 2 diabetes, their body doesn’t respond to insulin properly, leading to the reduction of insulin production.

There’s still no scientific study describing what causes type 1 diabetes. For people diagnosed with this condition, their immune system mistakes healthy body cells as foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria. As a result, it destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, making the body unable to produce insulin.

Similarly, researchers are not particularly certain about why people with type 2 diabetes become insulin resistant. Despite this, lifestyle factors are associated with developing the condition. An unhealthy and excessive diet and an inactive lifestyle are common roots of type 2 diabetes. As mentioned, excess weight affects the body’s resistance to insulin. So, when talking about diabesity, we usually refer to obesity causing type 2 diabetes. With that said, other genetic and environmental factors may also play a role in developing the condition.

That’s a quick breakdown of the foremost information that you need to know about diabesity. While there is no cure for diabetes, there are many ways you can prevent it from happening, many of which aid weight problems as well. Of course, a healthy lifestyle, with proper diet and exercise, is the first step you can take. If that’s not enough to shed off the weight, there are alternative solutions like bariatric surgery and weight loss balloons you may opt for.

Over the years, the diabesity pandemic has reached many Asian nations, with a sharp spike in the cases of obesity and diabetes. That should be enough reason for you to be more cautious about your body. Start living healthy as early as now so you won’t be part of those growing numbers.