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Diabesity 101: the worrisome combination of obesity and diabetes

Dr. Muffi    22/7/2018   |   Sunday

This is a term I have coined to specifically address obesity and diabetes when they occur together.

I have spoken on this blog earlier about obesity, and the risks it poses. This week, I would like to talk to you about diabesity.

As a bariatric surgeon, I am approached by both obese and morbidly obese patients who are ridden with a host of related diseases. The most common one is diabetes.

A study published in International Journal of Diabetes in Developing Countries emphasises that diabetes cases are fast growing in India, from 37.6 million cases in 2004, to 41 million in 2007, and an estimated 80.9 million by 2030.

We have discussed what obesity is, what causes it, and the problems it can lead to. I want to take a quick minute and explain what Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is. Both types are caused by an imbalance of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar.

Type 1 is usually diagnosed in childhood or adolescence and occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin. Thus, the patient has high blood sugar. Type 2, which is more common, has direct links to obesity, stress and sedentary lifestyles. In a Type 2 patient, the body produces insulin but is unable to use it to regularise blood sugar levels.

It is Type 2 diabetes which has a clearer link to obesity. This is because excess body weight does not allow the body to control blood sugar with insulin.

The easiest way I can illustrate the link between diabetes and obesity - diabesity - is that they are in a vicious cycle with one another. Obese people are more at risk of contracting Type 2 diabetes, and those with diabetes have to guard against obesity.

The primary and most responsible way to control both diabetes and obesity is to lead a healthy, fit lifestyle. However, in many cases, medical intervention is needed. I will share two case studies with you next week that will explain this further.

For now, whether you are diabetic, obese, or neither, please do refer to my list of things to do to stay healthy and follow them!

Remember that you are in charge of your life in every aspect. If you respect your body by working out, eating a balanced diet, and managing your work-life balance, it will reward you with wellness. More importantly, if you set an example for your family, and especially your children, they will benefit from watching you and following you.


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