Diabetes and the Need to Maintain a Healthy Weight

Diabetes, and type 2 diabetes (adult onset) in particular, is growing at a terrifying rate all over the Western world. Here in the United Kingdom over 2.5 million people have already been diagnosed with diabetes and it is believed that close to another million remain undiagnosed. In the USA almost 26 million people are diabetic, accounting for a worrying 8.3 percent of the total population.

When doctors refer to the "diabetes time bomb" they are not overstating the problem. The National Health Service is already cracking under the strain of diabetic health treatment and all reliable projections suggest that the problem is set to become much worse in the not too distant future. People with diabetes are twice as likely to be admitted into hospital as non-sufferers, and the presence of diabetic complications increases NHS treatment costs by up to five times.

In the UK an estimated 80,000 hospital bed days per year are the direct result of complications that are caused directly by diabetes. Approximately one in twenty people with diabetes in the UK incur social services costs. Seven percent of all prescription costs relate to diabetic treatment and the total annual cost of treatment throughout Great Britain has risen to well in excess of half a billion pounds.

Type 2 diabetes occurs either when the body fails to produce enough insulin to enable it to maintain a healthy blood glucose level, or when it becomes resistant to the insulin that it does produce.

It is well-known that there are many genetic, environmental and cultural factors that do come into play when calculating any particular individual's risk of becoming diabetic. However it is overwhelmingly the case that overweight people and in particular those who are obese are significantly more at risk than those maintaining a healthy body weight. Indeed one influential report, published in 2005, claimed that an obese person has about an 80 times greater chance of developing diabetes than somebody who is not overweight.

It is of course possible to be hugely overweight and still never develop diabetes. Equally there are some who become diabetic despite keeping fit and active, eating healthily and not being at all overweight. Nevertheless the link between obesity and adult onset diabetes is beyond dispute and the evidence to support it is overwhelming.

The risk of diabetes should certainly be the single biggest motivating factor in inspiring someone who is overweight to do something about it. It is, of course, very often easier said than done. A large person has a large appetite and engaging in any kind of rapid weight loss diet and the lifestyle changes that inevitably involves can lead to depression, irritability and even pain. But when one considers that a lifetime of medical treatment and the possibility of very serious complications leading to amputation, blindness or even death awaits then it would appear to be the easier option in the long-term.

Some have turned to hypnotherapy for weight loss, others have followed more conventional disciplines such as following weight loss plans recommended by others who have used them successfully.

Whatever one decides to do there are a great many reasons why those who are seriously overweight or obese should act immediately, and the very significant risk of developing diabetes is right up with the best of them.

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