Why does obesity cause diabetes? You asked Google – here’s the answer
‘Cause” is a strong word. It means that A results in B happening. Causality is also surprisingly difficult to prove. Most medical studies only show association between A and B, while causality often remains speculative and frustratingly elusive. Obesity and diabetes are no exception.
There are many types of diabetes. All are unified by elevated levels of blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes accounts for less than 10% of cases and results from autoimmune destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas, which produce and release insulin. (In an autoimmune process, antibodies that normally target and fight infection instead target one’s own cells). Type 3c (secondary) diabetes can occur when there has been destruction of the pancreatic beta cells through some other process, such as excessive alcohol, inflammation or surgical resection.
There are also many genetic forms of diabetes, each usually resulting from a single gene mutation that affects pancreatic function in some way. Finally, there is type 2 diabetes (T2D), which accounts for more than 90% of cases globally. Media reports of diabetes, particularly in the context of obesity, usually relate to T2D, the two terms often being used interchangeably.
Only T2D appears to be associated with obesity. Epidemiological studies across the world have shown that the greater one’s body mass index (BMI), the greater the chance of developing T2D. However, this is not the same as saying that obesity causes T2D. The majority of people who are obese will never develop T2D – a fact that exposes the statement “obesity causes diabetes” a Continue reading