Mayo Clinic on Managing Diabetes

By Maria Collazo-Clavell | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
Achieving a healthy weight

Being overweight is by far the greatest risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of people who develop this type of diabetes are overweight. By contrast, most people with type 1 diabetes are at or below their ideal weight.

Why is weight such an important factor? Fat alters how your body cells respond to the hormone insulin. It causes them to become more resistant to insulin's effects, reducing the amount of sugar (glucose) the hormone is able to transport from your blood to your cells. More sugar remains in your bloodstream, increasing your blood sugar level.

The good news is that you can reverse this process. As you lose weight, your cells become more responsive to insulin, allowing it to do its job. For some people with type 2 diabetes, losing weight is all that's necessary to control their diabetes and return their blood sugar to normal. And the amount of weight loss doesn't have to be extreme. A modest weight loss of 10 to 20 pounds, or 5 percent to 10 percent of your weight, can lower your blood sugar level, as well as reduce your blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.

Losing weight, as you well may know, can be a challenge. We believe, however, that with a positive attitude and the right advice, it's a challenge you can meet. As you develop more healthy habits, the pounds will gradually come off.

-85-

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