Are You at Risk of Type 2 Diabetes?
Here’s how to spot the warning signs of type 2 diabetes and take control of your health.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition that affects how your body processes glucose (sugar). It generally occurs in adults who have become resistant to — or do not produce enough — insulin. Insulin is important because it regulates the amount of glucose in your cells, ensuring levels do not become too high or too low.
Type 2 diabetes is directly linked to obesity, and more than 20% of obese adults have developed the condition. The effects of diabetes often emerge slowly, but they can greatly impact your quality of life. Common complications include cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney disease, and blindness.
Fortunately, learning how to spot the warning signs of diabetes can lower your chances of developing the disease. Further, since obesity is one of the most common risk factors of type 2 diabetes, losing weight through bariatric surgery can help you stay healthier longer.
What Are the Risk Factors of Diabetes?
There are several risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Since one out of every three Americans already has prediabetes, it’s especially important to pay attention to these warning signs — and then take action to improve your health.
- Obesity: Being overweight or obese puts you at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. One study showed that women with a body mass index (BMI) over 35 (which is considered obese) are 93 times more likely to develop diabetes than women with a BMI under 22 (which is considered “ideal”).
- Fat Distribution: People who carry their weight mostly in the abdomen or stomach area tend to have a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Lack of Physical Activity: Exercise helps you control your weight and burn glucose for energy. Inactivity, on the other hand, can increase your risk of diabetes.
- Family History: If someone in your family has diabetes, you may also be susceptible to the condition.
- Race: Certain populations — including African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders — tend to show higher rates of type 2 diabetes.
- Age: After the age of 45, your likelihood of developing diabetes increases, especially if you have additional risk factors like obesity.
- Prediabetes: Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Left untreated, this condition often turns into type 2 diabetes.
- Gestational Diabetes: Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy, and tends to disappear after you’ve given birth. However, it does increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormonal imbalance marked by irregular periods, excessive hair growth, acne, and weight gain. It is linked to obesity and can increase your risk of diabetes.
- Areas of Dark Skin: Acanthosis nigricans, or dark, thick skin around the neck and armpits, may indicate insulin resistance, a warning sign of diabetes.
To assess your risk of type 2 diabetes, you can take this online test provided by the American Diabetes Association. People who are obese and have one or more other diabetes risk factors may also want to consider making an appointment with Long Island Laparoscopic Doctors to discuss diabetes prevention strategies.
How Weight Loss Surgery Can Help
Bariatric surgery can help you manage — or even reverse — your type 2 diabetes, but it’s also an important tool for diabetes prevention. Not only does weight loss surgery help people lose a substantial amount of excess weight — 60-80% for gastric bypass recipients — but it can also change how the body responds to food. For instance, after a gastric bypass, nutrients are generally absorbed in an area of the small intestine that promotes the production of GLUT-1. This hormone helps the body process glucose, therefore lowering blood sugar levels.
Some people can achieve significant weight loss — and lower their risk of type 2 diabetes — with a strict diet and exercise regimen. However, many obese people have attempted lifestyle changes in the past and struggled to lose weight or keep it off over the long term. In most cases, bariatric surgery is the quickest and most effective way to reduce your chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
If you think you may be at risk of diabetes or other obesity-related health problems, contact Long Island Laparoscopic Doctors today. Our experienced surgeons and care staff will help you determine which weight loss procedure is right for you, and support you throughout your weight loss journey. Our treatments have enabled patients to improve their health, sense of confidence, and overall enjoyment of life — and we can’t wait to help you do the same.