May 13, 2014

Thin and Type 2, Other Risk Factors for Diabetes

Are you aware that about 15 percent of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are thin and normal; meaning their body mass index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9? Even though there are some variances and possible inaccuracies in BMI, this is what the American Heart Association uses.

What are the factors that affect thin people to develop type 2 diabetes?

  1. Genetics – plays a prominent role in determining diabetes onset. This includes family history which sometimes isn't known because of secrecy.
  2. Sedentary lifestyle – can help trigger diabetes.
  3. Poor eating habits – can also help trigger diabetes.
  4. Previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes or having a baby with birth weight greater than nine pounds.
  5. Many have metabolic profile similar to overweight individuals.
  6. Many are insulin resistant in places where their fat cells are stored because of lack of exercise.

It is unfortunate that many normal weight people with type 2 diabetes have excess visceral fat. Visceral fat is the type of fat surrounding the abdominal organs. Visceral fat is very metabolically active. It produces a variety of hormones that influence glucose and fat metabolism.

Fatty acids are released from the fat cells and enter the blood stream. These fatty acids can damage the muscle cell's ability to attach properly to insulin causing insulin resistance. This also affects the glucose output of the liver. One method to convince yourself of this is to measure your waist and then your hips. Now divide your waist measurement by your hips measurement and record the result. Warning – do not do this if you are a woman and pregnant. If the results are greater that eight tenths, you likely have more visceral fat and may be at risk for developing type 2 diabetes even if you have no history of weight problems.

Although most doctors will laugh at you and make statements that it is all in your head, consider the above six points, and ask your doctor to screen you for blood glucose levels (plasma blood glucose) and A1c every year.

Weight loss is obviously not the treatment in this case, but exercise and healthful eating certainly is. Aerobic exercise and especially strength training are two important lifestyle measurements that can keep blood glucose managed and help avoid complications down the line. The more muscle you have the greater your uptake of glucose into the cells, where it belongs.

Now, choose low-glycemic index carbohydrates such as legumes, fruits, and vegetables and limit added sugars to help. Carefully choose a heart-healthy food plan of eating. This is important in people who are thin with type 2 diabetes because some studies have shown that those who develop type 2 diabetes despite being of normal weight have an increased risk of heart disease in excess of those obese people with type 2 diabetes. The diagnosis may not seem fair, but there are things you can do to manage your diabetes and live a long life.

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