Diabesity: A lifestyle epidemic

By Dr. Vikas Ahluwalia in Bariatric Surgery / Metabolic

Oct 19 , 2015 | 1 min read

Fast paced lifestyle, increasing reliance on processed foods, lack of proper nutrition owing to socio-economic situation and physical inactivity is creating an alarming health situation for our present generation. Our body’s metabolism is the victim of bad lifestyle choices and poor social conditions. Due to this, metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity are on the rise. Consider this:

  • For each diagnosed case of diabetes, five more people are likely to test positive for the disease in near future. Known as pre-diabetics, these people are at high risk of developing full-blown diabetes.
  • Nearly 50 per cent of all diabetics are obese.

Pre-diabetes, diabetes and obesity are social disorders that find their roots in the prevailing social and economic conditions of our country. Even more alarming is the occurrence of a single comprehensive term that binds all three disorders and describes the relationship between them - Diabesity.

What is Diabesity?

Diabesity (Diabetes+Obesity) results from an imbalance in the body’s blood sugar levels, leading to insulin resistance and diabetes. Being overweight or obese puts a person at a higher risk of developing insulin resistance (inability of the body’s cells to recognise insulin, which drives glucose transport away from blood and into storage). Genetics too may play a role in the onset of diabetes, but a more crucial determinant are the lifestyle habits of a person – poor eating and lack of physical activity are directly linked to the growing incidence of diabesity.

What are the complications that arise from Diabesity?

Diabesity is the storehouse of numerous complications, brought upon by the long-term effects of diabetes and obesity. Diabetes affects the brain, heart, kidneys and vision, in the form of cerebrovascular stroke, myocardial infarction, end-stage renal disease and blindness. Obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, hyperlipidemia, respiratory issues and various forms of cancer.

Further, both diabetes and obesity are being linked to sleep apnoea, depression and chronic stress, which cumulatively lead to reduction in the quality of life and a reduced life expectancy. It will also have an increasing impact on costs to economy and work productivity. All the above factors call for an urgent need to seek a comprehensive treatment, management, screening, and prevention plan to address the growing epidemic of diabesity in our country.

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