The Link Between Diabetes and Obesity

Although there are several different types of diabetes, the bottom line is that this chronic disease can have a devastating impact on your life. Being obese puts you at a greater risk for this illness.

Understanding diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a disease that causes increased blood sugar levels in your body and is the result of your body’s inability to make enough insulin to control the levels of sugar in your body. If this condition remains untreated, it places you at greater risk for eye disease, heart disease, kidney disease, and nerve pain.

Types of Diabetes

There are four main types of diabetes: prediabetes, Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.


Prediabetes occurs when you have high blood sugar levels, but the levels are not high enough to warrant a diagnosis of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

Type I diabetes is usually developed in childhood when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. Obese children are at an increased risk for Type I diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common version of diabetes. With Type 2 diabetes, your body produces insulin, however, it cannot use it. This is also known as insulin resistance.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy when a woman’s blood sugar becomes elevated.   Although blood sugar usually returns to normal after birth, gestational diabetes puts the mother at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes within the following ten years.

Obesity and diabetes

There is a strong link between being overweight and the development of Type 2 diabetes. This is due in large part to insulin resistance or the body’s inability to use the insulin it produces. Being obese, by itself, however, is not always a contributing factor to the development of Type 2 diabetes. The location and type of body fat is a strong predictor for developing this disease.

There are two variations of fat: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is located just beneath your skin and can be physically measured. Visceral fat, by comparison, is typically found within the abdominal cavity and surrounding your internal organs. This type of fat is difficult to get rid of and can lead to an increased risk for diabetes. 

While all of this may sound grim, there is hope. Even modest weight loss, as little as 5% of total body weight, can help improve your situation.

Partnering with an experienced physician can help reduce your risk of developing diabetes.  Linda J. Morgan-Evans, MD, is a family medicine practitioner at High Point Medical Clinic in St. Robert, Missouri. Dr. Morgan-Evans has over twenty years of medical experience in diabetes management and weight-loss support. With her expert help, you can achieve your weight-loss goals and limit your risk factors for diabetes. Please give our office a call at 573-336-3644 to make an appointment.  We look forward to partnering with you.

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