Key link between obesity and type 2 diabetes discovered :
New research published in the journal Cell Metabolism has identified a key mechanism in the immune system involved in the development of obesity-linked type 2 diabetes. The findings open up new possibilities for treatment and prevention of see more
Obesity and diabetes
Central obesity as well as obesity in general is associated with physiological changes that may cause the development of diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease,high blood cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.
Obesity also raises the risk of fatty liver disease, gall bladder disease, osteoarthritis and certain cancers. It is estimated that the cost of treating obesity related diseases contributes 2–7% of total national health care costs in developed countries.
Diabetes is defined as the inability of the body to regulate and control the blood sugarlevels. Persistent and long term raised blood sugar is associated with damage to blood vessels, nerves and several organs.
Incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes
As the incidence of obesity rises rapidly, so does that of Type 2 diabetes. In 2000 for example the incidence of diabetes worldwide was 171 million. Studies estimate that these numbers are set to rise to 366 million by 2030 according to the World Health Organization.
Type 2 diabetes is on a major rise especially in developing countries along with the developed countries. This is probably because of the switching of the developing country populations to a more affluent lifestyle of poor and unhealthy diet accompanied by lack of physical activity.
Diabetes mellitus and obesity
In obese individuals with type 2 diabetes, the amount of insulin produced in the body may be normal but this may not meet the requirements of the body. Thus the blood sugar remains elevated. This is termed insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is the hallmark of type 2 diabetes seen among obese individuals.
Treatment and prevention of type 2 diabetes by reduction of obesity
For treatment and prevention of Type 2 diabetes, reduction of obesity is a key goal all over the world. The main aims for treating both obesity and diabetes are to:-
- reduce caloric intake
- increase physical activity
Newly diagnosed cases of diabetes and obesity are always treated in this way before adding medications to bring down blood sugar.
Association between fats and diabetes
Free fatty acids are the most important source of energy for liver, kidney and muscles and help produce triglycerides in the liver. In periods of prolonged fasting, the fatty acids replace glucose as source of energy. These free fatty acids are stored in the body in the form of triglycerides in the white adipose tissue.
When fasting these, free fatty acids are released from triglycerides by the process of lipolysis or fat breakdown. Once in the muscles these fatty acids are oxidized to release energy.
Insulin is one of the main hormones that regulated the breakdown of fats into usable glucose. When there is insulin resistance there is lack of this regulation and a consequent rise in free fatty acid levels. This is the characteristic feature of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Obesity and hormones
Further obesity changes the hormones secreted by adipose tissue or fat tissues. The major hormones that are affected are the adipokines. In the obese state, adipose tissue secretes proportionally more adipokines that cause insulin resistance.
Furthermore, obesity is associated with an increase in secretion of chemokines by the adipose tissues. This leads to activation of inflammatory cells like macrophages. Activated macrophages produce cytokines that can decrease insulin sensitivity and increase insulin resistance.