Obesity in the United States has become extreme. More than two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and this includes about 20% of American children. About one-third of Americans are obese.
As a country, we are cognizant of the problem. Billions of dollars are spent each year on diet food, books, and pills. About $75 billion is spent addressing diseases that stem from obesity and an additional $20 billion is lost by the work force due to absence and illness that are related to obesity.
The Relationship Between Obesity and Diabetes
Statistics cited by the International Diabetes Foundation show a 40% increase in diabetes in the ten year period ending at 1999. The obesity rate also went from 12% to 20% in that same period.
Current lifestyles of low exercise and high fat diets are leading to obesity and statistics suggest that obesity can help cause diabetes. Eighty to ninety percent of people diagnosed with type II diabetes are also diagnosed as being obese.
People who are overweight tax their bodies, including the body's ability to maintain correct blood glucose levels. Overweight people who lose just 5 to 10 percent of their body weight can prevent diabetes.
Type I and Type II Diabetes
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by an excess of glucose in the blood. Glucose is blood sugar and the main source of fuel for our bodies. The insulin that is produced in the pancreas moves the glucose in our blood to the cells in our bodies. If the amount of insulin produced is inadequate, the glucose in the blood builds to excess.
The two major types of diabetes are type 1 diabetes and type II diabetes.
Type I diabetes is insulin dependent diabetes and occurs when the pancreas does not make insulin at all. People with type I diabetes must take insulin for survival. Type I diabetes is also referred to as juvenile onset diabetes.
Type II diabetes is non-insulin dependent diabetes. Patients produce insulin but at insufficient levels. Normally, type II diabetes occurs in adults who are over age 30 and is often referred to as adult onset diabetes mellitus. Type II diabetes is significantly more common than type I diabetes, and an increasing number of patients are getting it in their teens.
Gastric Bypass Surgery and the Remission of Diabetes
Many doctors have discovered that patients who have had gastric bypass surgery experience a reversal of diabetes even before weight loss occurs. Patients often leave the hospital and never need to use insulin again.
I am one such person. Prior to my gastric bypass surgery in 2003, I was on insulin and two oral medications for my type II diabetes. My blood sugar was never well-controlled. Shortly after my weight-loss surgery, my primary care physician took me off all medications. My A1c readings ever since then have been great!
It is believed that diabetes goes onto remission after weight-loss surgery because the intestines experience a dramatic increase in the production of the hormone incretin. Incretins stimulate the pancreas to make insulin, and insulin efficiency is the cause of type II diabetes.