Unexplained Weight Loss and Diabetes - What You Should Know
If you’ve experienced unexplained weight loss, you’re not alone. A recent report by the American Diabetes Association and JAMA Internal Medicine found that almost 30% of people with type 2 diabetes and almost 14% of people with type 1 diabetes suffer from unexplained weight loss.
Weight loss is a common problem with diabetes, as it can be a symptom of the disease or a complication. It can be worrying when it occurs, but it can be dealt with and understood.
What is Unexplained Weight Loss?
If you’re losing weight when you haven’t intentionally dieted or increased your physical activity, it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Find out how unexplained weight loss can signal diabetes or other problems. what is Prediabetes: Prediabetes is a term that has only recently been introduced to describe people who have blood glucose levels higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
If left untreated, prediabetes may lead to full-blown Type 2 diabetes within 10 years. It can also increase your risk for heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and more.
The main cause of unexplained weight loss is, unsurprisingly, an underlying condition. According to WebMD, more than a dozen medical conditions can cause unexplained weight loss; they include diabetes, cancer, and malnutrition.
Many times you'll also have accompanying symptoms such as excessive thirst or urination. If you suspect that your unexplained weight loss might be caused by something serious especially if you’re experiencing other symptoms it’s important to see a doctor right away.
Even though most cases of unexplained weight loss are easily explained by common medical conditions, you don't want to take any chances with your health.
Diabetes and Overweight If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you may be curious about how your weight might affect your condition.
Doctors recommend that diabetic patients maintain a healthy weight to help keep blood sugar levels as stable as possible. A person's weight is classified by a body mass index (BMI), which is based on height and weight.
A BMI of less than 18.5 indicates being underweight, while anything above 25 indicates being overweight or obese. When it comes to diabetes, your risk of developing complications increases if you're at least 20 pounds overweight, according to 2010 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Type 2 diabetics are also more likely to develop heart disease when they have excess fat around their waistline.
If your weight loss is not due to an unhealthy diet or lack of exercise, your doctor will likely order additional tests to determine whether you have diabetes.
If so, your doctor will give you specific lifestyle recommendations that may include a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. The goals are to help you prevent further weight loss, reduce your blood sugar levels and lower your blood pressure.
Your physician might also prescribe diabetes medications such as insulin or other injectable drugs that act like insulin to help control blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes.
Currently, doctors do not recommend bariatric surgery for patients with type 2 diabetes. However, if you are considering gastric bypass surgery to lose weight, discuss all treatment options with your health care team before making a decision.
Type 2 diabetes
It is possible to have type 2 diabetes without any clear symptoms. Your doctor can conduct a test called hemoglobin A1C to determine whether you have type 2 diabetes even if you don't exhibit any symptoms.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that diabetics meet regularly with their doctors for checkups. These visits help monitor your overall health, ensure proper treatment, and allow your doctor to adjust medications as needed.
They also provide an opportunity for you to ask questions about how to manage your condition well so that you can feel your best. To learn more about what it's like living with type 2 diabetes.
What other symptoms of diabetes should you watch for?
It's important to be aware of any new symptoms that might be related to diabetes.
Fatigue, poor eyesight, numbness in your hands or feet, frequent urination, and mood swings are all signs of diabetes. If you're experiencing any of these or other symptoms, it might be an indication of diabetes; see your doctor as soon as possible.
There are a number of things you can do to reduce your chance of acquiring type 2 diabetes, as well as manage symptoms if you already have them.
Consult your doctor right away if you notice any new unexplained weight loss or increased thirst and urination.
How is diabetes weight loss treated?
When type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, patients may be counseled to make lifestyle changes to manage diabetes. These may include dietary changes, increased physical activity, or weight loss.
Lifestyle changes are generally safe for most people with type 2 diabetes and can help slow the progression of the disease.
These measures, more importantly, can reduce cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess body fat around the waist (central obesity), high blood sugar, high blood sugar, and high blood sugar.
Although an aggressive weight-loss program can improve symptoms in patients with a short duration of diabetes; long-term weight loss maintenance is a challenge.
Weight loss isn’t always bad
- Sometimes, losing weight can be a good thing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends most adults weigh no less than 125 pounds if they’re 5’2 or 155 pounds if they’re 6 feet tall.
- If you weigh more than that, it may put your health at risk for certain conditions. In fact, overweight and obesity are leading causes of preventable death in America today.
- While it’s true that shedding pounds isn’t always harmful to health sometimes a person actually needs to lose weight losing too much weight is never ideal.
- When your body is starved of calories from food, your body slows down its metabolism by burning fat instead of glucose.
Why does weight loss cause diabetes?
Weight loss is never a bad thing, but it can create problems for people with diabetes. When someone loses weight rapidly 10 percent of their body weight in six months or less it’s called diabulimia.
This typically happens when someone has both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, although it can also happen with gestational diabetes or even long-term (chronic) diabetes that just isn’t well controlled.
When a person with diabetes loses weight too quickly, their blood sugar falls below normal levels.
Eventually, when they try to eat more food to raise their blood sugar back up to normal levels, they have trouble processing that food because they still don’t have enough insulin on board.
How can you stop the weight loss from leading to diabetes?
If your doctor thinks it's necessary, inquire about weight-reduction surgery. Because being considerably overweight might lead to insulin resistance, surgery may be a viable option for you.
Ask your doctor about weight reduction surgery if your BMI is greater than 30 or if you have a health condition that puts you at risk for diabetes.
According to studies, people who have had weight-loss surgery can lose up to 65 percent of their excess body weight in five years.
That's more than twice as much as they'd lose just by dieting. Even losing just 25% of your excess weight will significantly reduce your chances of acquiring Type 2 diabetes.
When should you see a doctor about unexplained weight loss?
If you’ve been trying to lose weight for a long time and haven’t had any success, see your doctor. Unexplained weight loss could be due to many things other than diabetes, including medication side effects or an eating disorder.
If your symptoms don’t go away or you notice additional symptoms, see your doctor for blood tests and other diagnostic tests. Your doctor can help find out what is causing your weight loss so that it can be treated appropriately.
If diabetes is diagnosed, there are lifestyle changes you can make to control your blood glucose (sugar) levels and help slow down disease progression. These include: making small changes in diet, and activity level, maintaining a healthy body weight, and managing stress.
If you are experiencing unexplained weight loss, it is important to get a doctor’s opinion on whether or not you may have diabetes.
Understanding your body is one of your key responsibilities as an adult make sure you are informed about any changes that might impact your health.