Weight can with diabetes

Can Diabetes Mellitus Cause Weight Gain

There are a lot of concerns about weight gain associated with diabetes mellitus. In this article, we will address these concerns as to whether they are true or not and what can be done about them.

Diabetes mellitus is a disease that results from a problem with secretion of insulin or decreased sensitivity to insulin. What it means is that diabetes mellitus can occur when your body lacks insulin or releases only a small and insufficient amount of the insulin. It can also occur when the body cells are no longer sensitive to the insulin that is present.

For that matter, there are two main types of diabetes:

  • Insulin-dependant diabetes mellitus (Type 1 diabetes mellitus)
  • Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (Type 2 diabetes mellitus)

Insulin is therefore a very important hormone in the body which is responsible for controlling the levels of glucose in the body. Insulin is an anabolic hormone which means that it helps in the synthesis of various macromolecules required by the body. It contributes to the formation of fats, proteins and storage forms of glucose.

Whenever, there is a lot of glucose present in the body, insulin will be released to control the level of glucose. When insulin is released, it causes the cells to take up glucose for their energy production. The excess glucose will be converted to glycogen for storage in the liver, and the rest will then be converted to fats and proteins to be stored in adipose tissues and muscles respectively.

This means that the presence of insulin contributes to weight gain in individuals. So do diabetic patients really gain weight?

Weight gain usually occurs in one type of diabetes and not the other. Since insulin is usually responsible for the gain of weight, in its absence, one is not expected to gain weight. This means that diabetics depending on the type of diabetes they have, may either gain or lose weight.

In which type of diabetes is weight gain common?

Weight gain is more common in type 2 diabetes also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. The opposite (weight loss) may also happen in type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Why does type 2 diabetes result in weight gain?

Usually, in type 2 diabetes, there is sufficient production and release of insulin in the body. The problem leading to diabetes has to do with the insensitivity of the cells to the insulin which is present. As such the anabolic activity of insulin may be present especially when the individual keeps on eating a lot but burning less calories.

This issue is compounded in type 2 diabetics who use insulin therapy in addition to their oral antidiabetic medications. One common symptom of diabetes is polyphagia which refers to excessive eating. These people tend to consume a lot of food.

When the calories supplied to the body far exceeds what the people require then insulin will act to convert them to storage forms of glucose (glycogen), fats or proteins. Hence, for type two diabetes, increased intake of food in the presence of insulin or extra insulin usage will lead to weight gain through the accumulation of fats or proteins.

Why does type 1 diabetes result in weight loss?

Unlike type 2 diabetes, there is little to no insulin release in type 1 diabetes mellitus and because of that, the body loses the anabolic activity of insulin. This means that the body doesn’t produce excess fats or proteins as is done in type 2 diabetes mellitus even when you increase your food intake.

In addition to that, the body cannot make use of the food you eat to generate energy and for that matter resorts to different pathways to generate energy. The alternatives used by the body to generate energy include breaking down fats and proteins. These fats and proteins (muscles) together with water in the body are mostly responsible for your weight. Thus their breakdown to provide energy leads to a decrease in weight.

Also, because diabetes comes with excessive urination, you can easily become dehydrated and hence the loss of water will also compound your loss of weight.

WRITTEN AND EDITED RESPECTIVELY BY:

Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.

His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.

He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.

Chief Editor at Wapomu.com

MPSGH, MRPharmS, MPhil.

Isaiah Amoo is a practicing community pharmacist in good standing with the Pharmacy Council of Ghana who has meaningful experience in academia and industrial pharmacy. He is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, England, UK and currently pursuing his overseas pharmacy assessment programme (MSc) at Aston University, UK. He had his MPhil degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He has about 5 years’ experience as a community Pharmacist and has also taught in academic institutions like KNUST, Kumasi Technical University, Royal Ann College of Health, and G-Health Consult. He likes to spend time reading medical research articles and loves sharing his knowledge with others.

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