Diabetes has caught the attention of the healthcare sector for years now. The latest figures have shown that more than 19 million people currently have diabetes. This explains how high the prevalence of this disease is and why every healthcare professional needs to master the knowledge of diabetes. Directly or indirectly, diabetes is going to interfere with almost every new thing you plan to do or incorporate into your lifestyle. Even if you get a new medicine or want to attempt losing your weight, you cannot just ignore the fact that you’re diabetic and everything needs to be adjusted accordingly.
Diabetes and its Types:
Diabetes is a chronic and progressive disease that causes elevated blood glucose levels in the body. This affects the energy conversion from food. Because of the abnormal glucose levels, symptoms like nausea and vomiting, increased thirst, frequent urination, fruity breath odor, and fatigue are observed in the patients. However, the symptoms start regressing slowly as the patients begin managing the glucose levels well as recommended by the physicians. If above then normal glucose level persists in the body, this can lead to organ damage and long-term heart diseases, vision loss, and even kidney problems.
There are two main types of diabetes i.e., Type 1 and Type 2, which differ in mechanisms and the onset of the disease. Type 1 Diabetes destroys the specific cells called Beta cells of your body located in the liver. These cells are responsible for insulin production, breaking glucose into sub-molecules. Since insulin production is hampered, the level of glucose rises and causes diabetes.
In type 2 diabetes, the Beta cells of the Islet of Langerhans are healthy and intact. The insulin levels released are in the normal range, but the glucose levels still don’t come down to the standard value. The reason is that the body lacks insulin sensitivity. The body becomes resistant to insulin. Older people are more likely to get this type of diabetes, but it is also seen in adults and children. People with Type 2 diabetes usually have a group of metabolic disorders, for example, high cholesterol and high blood pressure making the resolution of diabetes even more difficult.
Symptoms and Causes:
The usual signs and diabetes symptoms that are observed in the beginning are frequent urination and dry mouth. A dry mouth explains the urge to drink more water and urinate more often. The patient may have bouts of sweat and feel nauseating. The fruity smell from the patient’s breath and also from the urine is a very assertive symptom of diabetes. The levels of glucose in the blood can be tested from the glucometer, which shows the units of blood glucose. If it does not lie in the normal range, the physician will give you immediate treatment and, at the same time, order a glucose tolerance test to confirm the type of diabetes you have.
The causes of diabetes are reflected upon a lot of factors that contribute to it. If a person has a family history, diabetes apparently runs through their genes, and he is more susceptible to it—other factors like obesity, high cholesterol, uncontrolled blood pressure, and a sedentary lifestyle. Women who have had gestational diabetes are more prone to having diabetes later on. PCOS is yet another cause of diabetes in women.
Relationship Between Body composition and Diabetes
Learning and assessing the patient’s body composition has become a necessary step before figuring out the diagnosis of diabetes and its type. Percentage body fat and the body mass index give a clear-cut indication of any diabetes screening needs and the requirement of preventive measures in pre-diabetes. A study published in British Medical Journal Open shows that almost 64% of the population who had a normal BMI exhibited a high body fat percentage. This means that a person with normal weight can have high body fat and may be prone to diabetes, so the body composition is a much more accurate parameter to check diabetes risk than body weight.
After the onset of diabetes, a significant change in body composition is observed with time. Another study conducted by the National Institute of Health shows that diabetics usually undergo fat gain and muscle loss. The body weight shifts towards high fat – low protein content, and the distribution of fat in the body also changes, leading to Type 2 Diabetes.
Accumulation of Fat:
Fat redistributes itself in a diabetic patient, and the balance of visceral fat is greatly disturbed. Patients with diabetes are often noted with a greater fat bulk around their abdomen. The excess visceral fat is deposited in the abdomen, causing an increased risk of type 2 diabetes owing to increased insulin resistance development. This type of fat accumulation is usually very stubborn and so hard to reverse. This could also be a signal of the heart progressing towards failure. This is why diabetics are always recommended to keep an active lifestyle and follow a healthy diet pattern to prevent excess fat accumulation and mitigate the risk of heart failure, and other organ diseases.
Loss of Lean Mass:
The major problem in diabetes is that the patient suffers a significant muscle mass loss which is the basis of several diseases. Elevated blood sugar levels cause muscular atrophy. This happens because two particular proteins WWP1 and KLF15 contribute to the major lean mass loss. Insufficient insulin or insufficient sensitivity to insulin suppresses the growth or proliferation of the muscle cells and tissues. The patient is not able to regulate physical activity and feels fatigued all the time. The phenomenon is more commonly seen in the aged people known as sarcopenia and is a big concern of clinicians in managing diabetes nowadays.
Body Composition Indicators:
Body composition and Diabetes risk are highly interrelated and cannot be ignored. As mentioned before, the fat mass is a direct measure for indicating if a person is pre-diabetic or diabetic. Fat mass, muscle mass, and the total body fat percentage are essential predictors of diabetes. People who are concerned about weight loss or simple weight management should get their body composition analyzed first in order to rule out any possibilities of diabetes. If there are any risks of diabetes in the following years, weight management in an effective way is the key to preventing the disease and adopting a healthy lifestyle. Your body is considered healthier if you have more Fat-Free Mass (FFM) or Lean Body Mass (LBM). Body Fat Scales are now frequently used to measure body fat mass accurately.
Physicians often look into the waist to hip ratio in order to assess the fat distribution in our body and if it indicates any danger to our health. The favorite place of the fat to get deposited in our body is around the waist. When there is excess fat, the fat cells move towards the bottom abdomen, and the ratio of waist to hip becomes less, making the figure look more like an apple shape (and less like an hourglass for females). The ideal waist to hip ratio is less than 1 for men and less than 0.85 for women.
Visceral Fat Area:
One myth that necessarily needs to be busted here is that people who have a flat stomach think that they do not have excess visceral fat. This is not true. The phenomenon has been explained as TOFI or Thin Outside, Fat Inside. Thick amounts of fat residing beneath your skin can tend to push your body towards chronic fatal conditions like heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, and Kidney Diseases. That is why it is more important to keep an account of the body fat percentage instead of the weight in order to rule out any possibility of chronic diseases like diabetes and other weight-related diseases.
Body Fat Percentage:
If your body fat percentage is too low, you might have lower resistance to diseases and lower energy levels. If it is too high, you might have weight-related problems. A greater amount of fat not only subsides under the skin but also slowly penetrates the organs and blood vessels, causing fatty liver and atherosclerotic conditions.
Why is Body Composition Analysis an Effective Tool for Diabetes Programs?
The measures of body composition are still not as accurate as they should be to rely on diabetes-like sensitive problems. However, the scientists are able to achieve reliable means with only 3-5% variation in results. Obtaining objective measurements on body fat mass, lean mass and visceral fat is easier now. It can give a direct relation of the risk of developing obesity and heart and metabolic diseases, including diabetes. It has proven to be a very good tool for monitoring the outcomes of diabetes intervention.
Positive changes in the body composition show the treatment is working, and any worsening prognosis can be interpreted in time to treat the condition. It is important to remember that a chronic disease like diabetes needs long-term tracking, and the use of body composition analysis is one of the non-invasive and near to accurate ways.
Visbody is a new scanning technology that makes a 3D model of your body within 10 seconds. It is like a 3D Body Scanner that allows easy measurement of your body circumference. It can give you a complete body posture analysis in 9 forms and 15 types of body composition analysis that can help you and your physician get a thorough analysis of your health based on your body content.
Visceral Fat Analysis:
The amount of visceral fat you have underneath your skin is a measure of the diabetes risk you have. This is assessed on account of the Visceral Adiposity Index (VAI). It is gender-specific and is based on the waist circumference, body mass index, triglycerides, and HDL cholesterol. It indirectly tells the visceral adipose function and expresses the level of insulin sensitivity giving you an idea of your risk of diabetes development.
Tracking the History of Body Composition:
Tracking the changes in your body composition is the key here. Being overweight and normal weight is not the right indicator anymore. Using techniques and body composition analyzers like skinfold Caliper, DXA, hydrostatic weighing, and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) can give you your accurate body fat percentage. Timely knowledge of your VAI and Body Composition Analysis can save you from diabetes development or at least give you quality life years before the disease sets in.
How to Manage/Prevent Diabetes through Nutrition and Exercise?
Prevention of diabetes does not involve any pharmacological intervention. Even for people who are already considered pre-diabetic, the physicians prefer to help them through dietary and lifestyle modifications. The food reflects the health of your body. The healthier you eat, the better your body resists negative changes and prolongs the quality of life. Studies conducted at the National Institute of Health show that diet consciousness and exercise can delay the onset of diabetes. A low-intensity exercise on a regular basis and a half-hour of walking, combined with an essentially low-fat diet are very effective in preventing diabetes. For patients who already have diabetes, exercise and dietary interventions can improve glycemic control and insulin sensitivity which is important for type 2 diabetes management.
Walking, cycling and swimming are the top three exercises that are very beneficial for diabetics, but the most common hurdle in exercising is busy routines. Arduous jobs have made people live sedentary lifestyles, unlike their interests. For this reason, a simple brisk walk has been recommended on a daily basis for people who think it’s hard to adjust their time. This decreases their risk of dying of heart disease. Regular exercise up to three to four hours a week can reduce the risk even further.
Nutrition and Diet
Nutrition is very important in decreasing insulin resistance and maintaining healthy body composition. Physicians usually give their patients a proper anti-diabetic diet that needs to be followed, but only 60% of the diabetics in the US are following it. Dietary control is the key to better diabetes management. People need to understand that exercising alone cannot help them maintain ideal health. Similarly, controlling diet alone without exercise isn’t effective either. A high protein diet and cutting down fat and sweets is all that gets you on the healthy road.