There is a strong correlation between obesity and the onset of type 2 diabetes with its associated insulin resistance. It should be pointed out that in the United States the proportion of the population under 40 that can be clinically defined as obese now exceeds 25%. Many children are obese and are developing type 2 diabetes at an alarming epidemic rate. The dramatic rise in obesity in the US has lead to an equally alarming increase in the percentage of the population who suffer from the metabolic syndrome. The metabolic syndrome is a clustering of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk factors, one of which involves insulin resistance characteristic in type 2 diabetes. It should be pointed out that obesity alone does not always lead to insulin resistance as some individuals who are obese do not experience insulin resistance and conversely, some individuals who manifest insulin resistance are not obese.
Is diabetes serious?
Yes. Diabetes is a life-long condition. High blood glucose levels over a long period of time can cause blindness, heart disease, kidney problems, amputations, nerve damage, and erectile dysfunction. Good diabetes care and management can delay or prevent the onset of these complications.
The good news
You can live a long and healthy life by keeping your blood glucose levels in your target range. You can do this by:
- Eating healthy meals
- Being physically active regularly
- Taking diabetes medication, including insulin
Things you should know about insulin
When insulin was first discovered and made available for people with diabetes, there was only one kind of short-acting insulin. This required several injections a day. As time went on, new insulins were developed that lasted longer, requiring fewer injections, but requiring strict attention to timing of meals.
This gives more flexibility in the number and timing of injections, making it easier to maintain target blood glucose levels, based on your lifestyle. One to four injections a day may be suggested to you for optimal control of your blood glucose.
Are there any precautions before changing over to insulin?
Before considering a move to insulin it is worth examining all the option with regard to combination therapy. Diet should be optimised and the benefit of exercise discussed. It is important to be aware of the possibility of weight gain and of the need to maintain weight ‘neutral’ especially if already obese.