Changing body increases risk of diabetes

June 22, 2010 3:35:01 PM PDT
Diabetes is almost an epidemic in our country. It's a disease that can take a terrible toll on a person's life, including the life itself. A new study found that for older people a changing body composition could put you at risk for this disease.

People can develop type 2 diabetes anytime in their lifetime, but there was little understanding of if and how this disease strikes those in the later years. Researchers looked into the issue of this growing health problem in our country and got a surprising answer.

As individuals in our country grow heavier, their risk of developing diabetes increases.

Many people go undiagnosed, unaware of the warning signs, such as sudden, increased thirst, increased urination, increased hunger, particularly after eating, and dry mouth.

According to the research publishing a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, what gives you diabetes is adding on fat tissue, particularly around the middle. As people age, their body changes, but for many, these changes include losing lean muscle to fat, and finding the fat shifting and collecting around the weight and the hips.

Individuals who gained 20 pounds or more between the ages of 50 and 65 had an increased risk of diabetes. Their risk was two to three times higher than those whose weight remained more stable.

Prior to this research, there's been limited information on body fat and diabetes risk in the over 65 age group, even though this age group has the highest incidence of diabetes.

Maps from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) tell the story of weight gains, and therefore, diabetes risk. Red shows areas of people where 25 percent and more of the people are overweight or obese. In 1998 there was no red. In 2002 there were more red areas, and in 2007, red was in a larger area, showing 25 percent or more of the people overweight or obese.

The results affirm the importance of weight control during middle age and suggest that weight control remains important into older generations, in terms of reducing diabetes risks.