Ok ok, we all get it. Being overweight or obese goes hand in hand with Type 2 diabetes. Just look at any number of the most recently released commercials for diabetes medications. See a trend? Everyone in these commercials is overweight or obese.
Why am I concerned about this? Because I don’t think there is a person alive, that knows even the most MINIMAL amount of information about health, who is unaware that being overweight or obese increases their risk for a HOST of chronic illnesses.
What concerns me then, is that many people who are of normal weight, are seemingly healthy and even athletic may not understand their health risks, as if weight and appearance are the sole measure of health.
This is my beautiful sister. She has graciously allowed me to share her story…
My sister hasn’t been overweight a day in her life. She has been a competitive athlete since grade school and has been a vegetarian probably since her college days. We come from a family full of Type 2’s, siblings, both parents, grandparents. Because of our family history, I have drilled it into all of my siblings about our increased risk of Type 2. Of all of our siblings, she is the one whom I suspected would have the LEAST problems with blood sugar issues, as she is the only one among us who is of normal weight. She is also the most active.
When she began testing her blood sugar at my behest, lol!, she was surprised to find diabetic level blood sugars. Further testing with her doctor revealed pre-diabetes (in other words, diabetes. See my page “Pre-diabetes” HERE). Fortunately, with some changes to her diet (reducing carbohydrates), she is now experiencing normal blood sugars. If she had not had a sister fanatical about diabetes, how long would she have gone without knowing? Literally, she would have walked into a doctor’s office one day for an unrelated complaint and been told she had diabetes. Because she didn’t fit the “profile” for a person with Type 2 (as promoted in these commercials), she would have been overlooked until her symptoms became more apparent. At that point, much damage would likely have been done.
My point? Even if you are of normal weight (and even if you are athletic), you still may have significant risk for Type 2. Testing blood sugar should be a normal part of your routine lab work with your healthcare provider. Better yet, spend less than $10 and get a blood sugar meter. You should especially be testing your blood sugar if you have INCREASED risk, such as if you have any of the following:
- A history of Type 2 in your family
- You are overweight
- You are normal weight but have belly fat
- You have blood pressure above normal range
- You have elevated triglycerides / low HDL
- You have PCOS
- You have (or ever had) gestational diabetes
- You have reactive hypoglycemia (low blood sugar after meals)
- You take certain medications that increase risk of elevated blood glucose and type 2 diabetes (steroids, statins, some classes of diuretics, some antidepressants / antipsychotics, some hormonal birth control pills, etc).
Finally, I’ve been waiting for a long time to share my opinion on what I’m about to say. This post is the perfect place to share it. “Not fitting the profile” for Type 2 not only results in MISSED diagnoses, but also MIS-diagnoses. For instance, this celebrity was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in her 20’s because at the time, she did not “fit the profile” of a person with Type 2. She was young and of normal weight.
Hence, when she stated she “weaned” herself off insulin with a healthy diet, she outraged (and I think insulted) the Type 1 community by saying that she “cured” her Type 1, and now considers herself a Type 2. In her exact words, she “worked herself up to Type 2.” This is ridiculous as Type 1 and Type 2 have nothing to do with one another in the way of etiology (cause). We don’t “progress” from one type of diabetes to another. Type 1 and Type 2 are COMPLETELY different diseases. (In fact, I personally consider Type 1 a “disease” and Type 2 a “disorder.”) I am in groups with thousands of healthy eating Type 1’s, all who are still Type 1, all who still take insulin.
In reality, she was Type 2 all along but was misdiagnosed due to her appearance. Hence, it only made sense that she could wean herself off insulin with a healthy diet. As a Type 2, this is very common (especially for the followers of this page ;)). So she is right in saying that she is Type 2 (she’s just wrong in not understanding that she has been one all along.) To be clear, for a person that has had diabetes for nearly 30 years, if she is not using insulin, she does not now, nor did she ever have Type 1.
In closing folks, while obesity CONSIDERABLY increases your risk of Type 2, in fact, they pretty much go hand in hand, Type 2 is not prejudiced to weight, gender, race, culture or social status. Type 2 is PREDOMINANTLY a lifestyle disorder, brought on by lifestyle factors. Whatever you look like, if you have these lifestyle habits, you are driving directly toward Type 2.
Therefore, regardless of your current appearance, use this page to learn healthy lifestyle habits to keep Type 2 at bay.
Wishing you health and happiness 😉