Thin Women and Diabetes Risk
E ven if you’re not overweight, you could be at risk for diabetes – and it can be even more dangerous for thin women. Do you face a type 2 diabetes risk? Here’s what lower-weight women need to know about the disease...
Donna Tucker, a real estate broker in Raleigh, N.C., thought she didn’t need to worry about getting diabetes because she maintained a healthy weight.
“I knew diabetes ran on my mother’s side, but I thought I would be OK because I wasn’t heavy [like] my mother and grandmother,” she says.
That’s why she was shocked when diagnosed with type 2 diabetes more than a decade ago, at age 34.
Type 2 diabetes develops when the body doesn’t properly produce or process insulin, a hormone that regulates glucose in the bloodstream. When too much sugar builds up in the blood, it can eventually harm the heart, kidneys, eyes, nerves and other organs.
Being overweight increases type 2 diabetes risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An 18-year-old woman with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18.5-24.9 – classified as “normal weight” – has a 17% chance of developing diabetes in her lifetime, while a BMI of 25-29.9 (“overweight”) raises the risk to 35%. Being heavier increases it even more.
But for normal-weight women, that smaller risk is still significant. And like Tucker, many of them may feel a false sense of security, says Betul Hatipoglu, MD, an endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
“[They] may think they don’t need to have their blood sugar checked for diabetes,” she says.
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