An alarming trend in diabetes rates has emerged during the last 2 decades.
According to the data collected by the center for disease control (CDC), the number of people suffering from diabetes type 2 ramped up over the past 20 years from 5.8 million to 13.3 million. Also, diabetes type 2 is now being diagnosed more frequently in teenagers and young adults.
The association between diabetes type 2 and increased weight is well-established and has been amply documented. The current increase in diabetes type 2 in the US population is clearly linked to the massive increase in obesity rates. Also, the increase in child and teen obesity correlates perfectly with the higher rate of diabetes found in children and teens.
All in all, the picture is deeply worrisome. People with diabetes type 2 are at extremely high risk for vascular disease, including ischemic heart disease. In fact, from a medical point of view, a person suffering from diabetes type 2 is treated the same as if they had active ischemic heart disease.
The mechanism by which overweight persons develop diabetes has to do with insulin resistance. In overweight and obese individuals, insulin receptors tend to “hide” deep inside the cell membranes, where they cannot be reached by the hormone insulin (which is secreted in response to high blood sugar levels and is normally responsible for disposing of the elevated blood sugar). The main way insulin disposes of blood sugar is by shuttling it inside the cells, where it is used as energy. In order to do this, however, insulin must bind to the insulin receptors present on cell membranes. If these receptors are unavailable (buried deeply inside the cell membranes), insulin cannot accomplish its role, and blood sugar levels remain elevated.
The good news is, however, that once a person looses the excess weight, insulin receptors tend to resurface on the cell membranes and insulin can resume its role. In other words, in most cases the cure for diabetes type 2 is simply loosing weight.