Diabetes, not just for the Fat People

Since 1980, the number of adults with diabetes has doubled and 347 million adults worldwide are now living with diabetes, according to a study published by the Lancet Medical Journal. Diabetes is becoming more common almost every where in the world and if if they continue to ignore the risk factors of the disease, the situation will become more and more serious. It seems that it is a common thought that diabetes connects to people with obesity. In fact, is it true?

Picture:  Diabetes test

The slim and healthy people can get diabetes

There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 is a disorder of the body’s immune system. And type 2 which account for 90 percent of people with diabetes is a chronic disorder marked by high levels of sugar in the blood. Most people associate type 2 diabetes with obesity — gorging on fatty foods and doing little or no exercise. It is the perception that diabetes connects to people with obesity making slim people have subjective thinking and  may be going undiagnosed simply because they do not believe they are in a high-risk group.

Many of those will be people such as Lorraine Fearn. She weighs 10 st 9 lb, is 5 ft 4 tall and not obese at all. She has an active lifestyle — she walks for half an hour four times a week and is a keen gardener — and has a healthy diet of fish, vegetables and cereals. However, she is a ‘typical’ type 2 sufferer. For another example, the 64-year-old retired factory worker from Yeovi, Somerset, has had to take daily tablets to treat type 2 diabetes. Her late mother, who weighed just 7 st, was diagnosed at the same age as Lorraine and her mother’s brother also suffered, despite being over 6 ft and very slim. Lorraine said that her mother also had it and she thought her great grandfather did as well because he went blind and had a leg amputated, which are two of the more serious complications of poorly managed diabetes.

In addition to subjectivity, a major cause people do not realize their symptoms — such as increased thirst, frequent urination or fatigue — is due to hidden diabetes.

BIM (body mass index) is an indicator to assess a patient’s risk of diabetes. Anyone with a BMI score of 30 (officially obese) is classed as at risk and in need of lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and more exercise. Nevertheless, BMI doesn’t measure actual body fat levels. Instead, a more accurate indication of diabetes risk is what doctors call visceral fat — hidden fat that lies around the heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas. A person who appears to be relatively slim can have high levels of undetected visceral fat, which could play a key role in the development of diabetes.

‘Lean gene’ may hide heart and diabetes risk

Scientists have discovered A “LEAN GENE” that keeps you looking slim may mask danger signs of heart disease and diabetes. It reduces levels of fat under the skin, but not the more harmful form of hidden “visceral” tissue that surrounds organs. It is known as IRS1.

Prof Kiel’s team conducted a research on more than 75,000 people. It searched for genes that determine body fat levels. The findings reveal that the IRS1 gene was linked with having less visible body fat. People possessing the “lean gene” also may have a risk  of unhealthy levels of cholesterol and blood glucose. People with the gene are less able to store fat safely under the skin. Instead, fat was likely to build up in a more harmful “visceral” form around internal organs.

In short, if you are slim and healthy, do not ignore the risk of diabetes.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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