Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can I get diabetes unless I lower my high body mass index?"
I am an obese 37 year old woman. I am trying to eat better and exercise. Can I get diabetes? I am trying to lose weight and not get diabetes.
You are correct to worry about diabetes if you are obese and it is great that your eating has improved and you have started to exercise. Both of these can decrease your risk for developing diabetes. You should speak with your primary care physician regarding your risk factors and ways of decreasing your risk. Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a condition in which glucose is not metabolized correctly and results in hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels). Type 2 DM, the most common form of DM, is due to a combination of both insulin deficiency and insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that is made and secreted by pancreatic cells and is essential in the metabolism of glucose. Obesity causes increased insulin resistance (meaning your body needs more insulin to have the same effect on blood glucose). Having a sedentary lifestyle with minimal exercise and unbalanced diet can increase your risks of developing DM. Not only will exercise decrease obesity, it actually improves insulin resistance. It is important to keep in mind that while improving diet, exercise, and overall health is wonderful and decreases your risk of developing DM, there are also genetic factors involved in the development of DM. For example, if many of your family members have DM, then your risk of developing it is higher. You should follow up with your primary care physician to discuss your overall health, your diabetes risk factors, and ways to decrease your risks.