Increased diabetes risk with adiposity

More and more people suffer from diabetes and adiposity. There are a lot of connections between the two diseases.

The number of people suffering from type II diabetes keeps increasing and so does the number of overweight and morbidly obese (adipose) people. More than half of the Germans are overweight and about 20 percent are even obese (BMI of more than 30 kg/m2). On the ocassion of the World Diabetes Day on the 14th of november the Integrated Research and Treatment Center (IFB) AdiposityDiseases emphasizes that the treatment of either diabetes or adiposity always has to also target the other disease respectively since both illnesses often occur together.

At the moment there are around six million diabetics in Germany. Scientists assume that this figure will almost double during the next 20 years. Especially with the 55 to 75 year-olds there is also a high number of unreported cases - for every patient there is another one still undiagnosed.

It has been long proven that an increased fat mass in the human body increases the risk for diabetes - especially fat tissue in the abdominal area and the torso.  The risk to develop a Diabetes is increased twenty fold with a BMI over 30, especially in women. Between 80 and 90 percent of diabetics are overweight. But not every person suffering from overweight or obesity will automatically suffer from diabetes. The affected persons often have an added genetic predisposition - so there is already someone in the family suffering from diabetes.

As of now the medical connections are not entirely clear yet. It is however a known fact that to much fat in the body lowers the effectiveness of insulin. This hormone is mainly responsible for transporting sugar in the blood into the body cells so that they can be transformed into energy. By doing that it lowers the blood sugar level. The pancreas is producing more insulin in case of lacking hormone efficiency - in case of lasting excessive demand it will however not be able to continue producing sufficient amounts of the metabolic hormone.

New studies indicate that substances from the fat tissue (adipokines) influence the effectiveness of insulin in muscles and liver. Prof. Mathias Faßhauer and his IFB researcher team investigate the effects of the adipokines. The adiposity expert explains the importance of those substances for the development of diabetes: "By know we know relatively many adipokines that decrease the sensitivety for insulin but only a few that increase the effectiveness of insulin. Wether adipokines can be used as diabetes medicine in the future remains uncertain. But it is certain that there remains a long way to go." In treatment of adipose patients with diabtes in the IFB outpatient clinic the doctors pay special attention to drugs that can further increase the body weight. Among them are some drugs for diabetes but also some medicine for psychological illnesses.

When overweight people alter their diet and loose weight, 20 to 30 percent of diabetes cases can be avoided or even reversed. In many cases a weight reduction of only five or ten kilos significantly improves the metabolic situation. Another important part for an optimized insulin effectiveness is physical activity; even moderate sports such as swimming, taking strolls or walking can help to decrease the blood sugar level or even reducing diabetes medication. A successful trio of regular exercise, healthy diet which is rich in fiber and weight reduction can cut the risk for diabetes by half at least and lessen the symptoms in already existing diabetes or even cure the disease all together.

Doris Gabel

Keywords: diabetes