Diabesity: What Is This New Thing?


From the term one might get a rough idea that it refers to a combination of the major illnesses/conditions, Diabetes and Obesity. Diabesity is usually used to refer to a form of diabetes that is associated with being obese. And it is being seen that this “epidemic” is growing by leaps and bounds in developed and developing nations.

The Marriage of Diabetes & Obesity

Obesity has a close relationship with diabetes. The former is a serious disease with symptoms such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, intermittent stoppage of breathing when sleeping, depression, fatty liver to name a few.

It is a well-known fact that diabetes occurs when the blood sugar levels go above the normal levels. ‘Diabesity’ seems to result from the collision of our genes with the modern environmental factors. Bodies store fat when there is an excess in amount of calories. Of late, fast food is what we are consuming day in and day out. Add to this an increasingly inactive lifestyle, and what we get is obesity.

Obesity is no longer something associated with developed nations. You can see the increasing number of obese persons in developing countries like Malaysia, India as well. An obese child today is highly prone to be a diabetic later in life. An increasingly worrying trend that is developing is that diabetes, linked with obesity, is being diagnosed in an increasing number of young citizens of this world.

As you can see, Diabetes and Obesity have global impact and reach. On an average, a person consumes about 22-25 teaspoons of sugar daily. This is one huge reason for the increase in ‘diabesity’. When we consume high amounts of carbohydrates, sugar levels in the body go up and this further fuels our body to store it as fat. In order to balance the blood sugar levels, it is important that we limit our carbohydrate intake to 1-3 choices (about 15- 45 grams of carbohydrates) in every meal.

Type 2 diabetes has been considered to be always an “older person disease” but what is upsetting is that currently children as young as 9-10 years of age have been diagnosed with it. Pregnant women who are obese are also likely to have overweight children.

Complications of Diabesity

Diabetes is a slow-moving catastrophe that greatly disturbs every cell in the body. At the core, it is basically the failure of cells to take in glucose. When sugar cannot enter the cells, it accumulates in the blood, thus resulting in devastating complications over time: heart attack, kidney failure, stroke, nerve damage, and in severe cases it can even result in blindness and limb amputation. Now when muscle and nerve cells are not provided with enough glucose, they end up functioning more slowly, thus explaining why early diabetes can possibly reveal itself as moodiness and fatigue.

Obesity also has an emotional effect – it ends up making patients prone to mental symptoms like anxiety, eating disorders and depression.

Is there a solution to this?

Yes! There definitely is! Bariatric surgery is basically a lifestyle modification surgery that helps to not only reduce weight but it also helps to cure or control the medical conditions associated with it. The effect on glucose control and other metabolic problems is striking with the bariatric surgery.

We will be bringing more about this solution in our forthcoming posts, so stay tuned!



Th Hindu

by Dr Carollyn Kek

M.D (FMSMU), Diploma of Dermatology (Bangkok). Dr. Kek is the practitioner in charge of Klinik Welcare in Seksyen 17 Shah Alam, Selangor. Dr. Kek is committed to not only provide optimal physical care, but also to provide options for clients to cosmetically enhance themselves. View all articles by Dr Carollyn Kek.


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