Even Really Healthy People Are Prone to Diabetes: Here's What You Should Know

We often assume that just because a person is skinny, they’re in perfect health. However, even healthy people can develop insulin resistance, a condition that leads to high blood sugar or diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes may be more common in people who are overweight or obese, but Dr. Syed Farhat Zaidi and Dr. Imran Baig at Integrative Primary Care in Houston and Katy, Texas, understand it can strike those who seem perfectly healthy. And, in those cases, it can have even more serious complications, including doubling your chances of dying from diabetes complications, like heart disease.

To reduce your chances of developing diabetes, we can help you identify your personal risks, even if you’re a really healthy person.

Understanding diabetes

Type 1 and Type 2 are most common forms of diabetes. When you have Type 1, your body stops making the insulin that absorbs your blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes often appears in children, but it can develop later in life.

Approximately 9.4% of the U.S.population has diabetes, but it’s usually Type 2. This form of high blood sugar develops when the cells in your body grow resistant to your insulin. Carrying excess body weight plays a significant role in how your system produces insulin and uses glucose, but that isn’t the only cause of Type 2 diabetes.

Fat

You don’t have to be overweight to have fat. In fact, it’s possible to have fat that grows around your organs instead of underneath your skin. This is known as visceral fat and isn’t obvious, so you can have it, but not look overweight at all. It’s even possible to have as much visceral fat as someone who is overweight, while looking look perfectly healthy. We refer to this as “metabolically obese, normal weight,” or MONW. So, even though you look healthy, having visceral fat can still increase your risk of certain conditions, like diabetes.

Bad diet

Just because you’re a healthy weight, it doesn’t mean you have a good diet. When you eat a lot of foods high in sugar and unhealthy fats, like trans and saturated fats, that can actually increase the visceral fat in your body and raise your blood sugar. To avoid developing Type 2 diabetes, you should limit the amount of sugary, fatty, processed, and fried foods you consume. You should also focus on getting more complex carbohydrates, like fruits, vegetables, brown rice, whole wheat, lentils, and beans. Taking these steps can help you lose visceral fat and control your blood sugar.

Fatty liver disease

Even if you drink alcohol responsibly, or not at all, you can still develop fatty liver disease. This condition occurs when you have extra fat in your liver and now affects between 20-40% of Americans. Having fatty liver disease can predict or cause diseases like Type 2 diabetes. To help keep your liver healthy, you should drink alcohol in moderation or not at all. You should also discuss any medications, herbs, or supplements you’re taking with us to make sure they aren’t toxic to your liver. During your appointment, we can also share additional recommendations, like getting vaccinations to protect your liver from diseases like hepatitis A and B.

Stress

Each time you experience stress, your body releases cortisol. This hormone activates the fight or flight response in your body. Although this response may have helped your ancient ancestors escape danger, it can cause long-term damage to your body. Every time your system releases cortisol in response to stress, your blood sugar level rises. When you live in a state of chronically elevated blood sugar, you can experience insulin resistance and diabetes as well as weight gain.

For more information on protecting yourself from diabetes, call us at Integrative Primary Care, or schedule an appointment online today.

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