The Benefits of Weight Loss: Prevent Diabetes Complications and Other Health Risks
Need motivation to lose weight? These important facts and figures may tip the scale in your favor when preventing diabetes complications and other health problems.
Why Weight Matters
For people who carry extra pounds, weight loss promises a halo of health improvement. Trimming just 10-20 pounds can pay huge dividends in managing diabetes and other ailments -- and save you money on health care expenses.
Obesity causes a long list of problems -- type 2 diabetes is only one of them. "Excess weight is at the root of more than 50 medical problems," says Louis Aronne, M.D., clinical professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.Fat in the Fire
Central obesity -- the accumulation of fat, or adipose tissue, around the abdomen and liver -- is the master switch that sets off many obesity-related health problems, Aronne says. This fat buildup gives the body an apple-shape appearance.
Excess weight activates white blood cells that trigger inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation in turn causes fat cells to expand and put out larger-than-normal amounts of some hormones, such as insulin. This overflow of insulin turns off the spigot of other hormones involved in blood glucose control. There's also declining output of adiponectin, a hormone made in the adipose tissue that prevents type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The changes that occur with inflammation and insulin resistance are at the core of the many weight-related problems. "These changes don't show up overnight; they're years in the making and surprisingly also include issues with infertility, depression, and generally decreased energy," says Ronald Tamler, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of endocrinology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
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