Non-obese and lean Indians also prone to Type 2 diabetes: study

Non-obese and lean Indians also prone to Type 2 diabetes: study
Highlights

Contrary to popular belief, not only obese and overweight but also nonobese and lean persons may be prone to type 2 diabetes

Contrary to popular belief, not only obese and overweight but also non-obese and lean persons may be prone to type 2 diabetes.

A recent study has found that while most diabetics in the West are also overweight and obese, in India nearly 20 to 30 percent suffering from diabetes are non-obese and even some are lean.

The incidence of Type 2 diabetes has been showing an upward trend in India and elsewhere in the world. This basically arises due to insulin resistance.

Increasing obesity and sedentary lifestyle are considered to be the main pivotal factors for insulin resistance and consequent diabetes. However, the new study has busted the myth that increasing obesity alone is the main causative factor.

Insulin resistance occurs when the cells in muscles, body fat and liver start resisting the signal that the insulin hormone is trying to send out to get glucose (also known as body sugar which is the main source of body’s fuel) out of the bloodstream and put it into the cells. Insulin resistance leads to diabetes, which in medical parlance is known as type 2 diabetes mellitus or T2DM.

Researchers measured insulin levels of 87 diabetics (67 men and 20 women) and also C-peptide levels. The results revealed that the persons included in the study had, by and large, features of adiposity characterised by high body fat, abdominal fat and fatty liver condition, which may not be visible from outside.

The study has concluded that non-obese (BMI below 25) and even lean (BMI below 19) Indians have high body fat, excess fat in liver and skeletal muscles and lesser skeletal muscle mass.

In particular, they have ectopic fat in liver (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) and pancreas (non-alcoholic pancreas disease), which may contribute to insulin resistance leading to diabetes even in young age.

Along with high body fat and visceral fat, researchers also found elevated levels of insulin and C-peptide in the 87 diabetic patients studied by them. Such patients would benefit better from pharmacotherapy using insulin sensitizers or weight loss therapy, the study noted.

The results of this study were published in the journal Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Research & Reviews.

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