Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which blood sugar levels are above normal. High blood sugar is a major cause of coronary heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, amputation, and blindness. In 2002, diabetes was the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes in the United States. This form of diabetes is most often associated with old age, obesity, family history of diabetes, previous history of gestational diabetes, and physical inactivity. The disease is more common among certain ethnic populations.
How is type 2 diabetes linked to overweight?
More than 85 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. It is not known exactly why people who are overweight are more likely to develop this disease. It may be that being overweight causes cells to change, making them resistant to the hormone insulin. Insulin carries sugar from blood to the cells, where it is used for energy. When a person is insulin resistant, blood sugar cannot be taken up by the cells, resulting in high blood sugar. In addition, the cells that produce insulin must work extra hard to try to keep blood sugar normal. This may cause these cells to gradually fail.
What can weight loss do for type 2 diabetes?
You may lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes by losing weight and increasing the amount of physical activity you do. If you have type 2 diabetes, losing weight and becoming more physically active can help you control your blood sugar levels and prevent or delay complications. Losing weight and exercising more may also allow you to reduce the amount of diabetes medication you take. The Diabetes Prevention Program, a large clinical study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, found that losing just 5 to 7 percent of your body weight and doing moderate-intensity exercise for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, may prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. For more information about the Diabetes Prevention Program,