Diabetes and Weight Gain
I recently had the pleasure of speaking at a medical conference devoted to diabetes. Mine was the talk focused on the association between weight gain and diabetes. While there are a great many interesting discoveries occurring all the time in the field of diabetes, it remains the case that the disease itself marches on, increasingly affecting more and more people around the country and around the world.
What strikes me as the most stunning statistic is the one which describes the close relationship between obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. The relationship is truly stunning. Even modest weight gain leads to dramatic increases in the development of type 2 diabetes.
We think of a normal body mass index as being 18-25, but really when one goes from a healthy body mass index to a body mass index of 25, the risk of type 2 diabetes more than doubles. Then when the body mass index climbs even higher, hold onto your hats because the risk of diabetes climbs through the roof. What does this mean? How are we to treat this runaway epidemic?
While there are new drugs that come out every year and better insulin management regimens hold promise for steadier regulation of the blood sugar, these treatments do nothing to reverse the growth of the disease around the country among men and women, young and old and people of all races. What is needed is really a prevention solution or a solution aimed at the root cause.
The only real solution at this point in time that reverses and eliminates the disease is weight loss. Weight loss takes a person back down curve and below the threshold at which their body can no longer handle the blood sugar. So while the treatment must involve controlling the blood sugar, and must involve medications, attacking the root cause by losing weight, must become the top priority for most people with type 2 diabetes.
Medically supervised weight loss holds the best promise for producing sustained weight loss in moderately overweight people. Weight loss surgery provides the best results for people with type 2 diabetes with body mass index over 30. There may even be a role for gastric bypass surgery as a type of “metabolic surgery” as the treatment for type 2 diabetes in normal weight individuals.