Dr. Cora Lanyon, D.C.
Diabesity? Is that a typo? What is it? No, it’s not a mistake– diabesity is a combination of obesity and diabetes, two of the most prevalent diseases in the United States today.
In fact, diabetes and prediabetes afflict over 30.2 million adults in the US today, costing the country a whopping $245 billion per year.
Similarly, obesity is at an all-time high reaching over 35% in seven states and costing us $145 billion a year.
What Is Diabesity?
The National Institute of Health defined diabesity in 2013, proposing it’s a combination of diabetes and obesity associated with high degrees of insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. While a disease with its own implications and treatments, diabesity is also a precursor to heart disease, fatty liver disease (nonalcoholic), pancreatitis, cancer, and premature death on an international scale.
With that in mind, it’s important that we treat diabesity with the same severity as obesity and diabetes.
Diabesity signs include the following:
- Abdominal obesity
- Low HDL, high LDL, and high triglyceride levels
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar (fasting levels exceeding 100 mg/dL and Hb1Ac higher than 5.5)
- Systemic inflammation
- Blood clotting
How Can We Reverse It?
Studies that have dealt with diabesity suggest that calorie restriction, losing weight, managing good nutrition, exercising, and reducing stress through good management skills can reverse this condition.
Restricting ¼ of your typical intake of calories, regardless of body weight changes, has proven to reverse signs of diabetes in animal models. This comes as a result of the decreased gluconeogenesis, glycogenolysis, and normoglycemia restoration.
Losing at least 15 kg has been linked to a complete reversal of all diabetes indicators. Losing weight is more complex of a subject than it sounds, and if you’ve tried to lose weight in light of your diabetes diagnosis, you know what I’m talking about. Many times, practitioners don’t take into account the patient’s authentic efforts at losing weight.
In functional medicine, we understand that pesky weight gain can be an underlying symptom of something else that needs to be addressed in order to fix the weight.
So, of course, while you should be eating nutritious diets and exercising (experts recommend at least 150 minutes and workouts like HIIT), I recommend partnering with a functional medicine practitioner who can also pinpoint your underlying allergies and sensitivities and build a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.
Your diet is something that also needs personalization if it’s going to get you anywhere. You may want to consider using supplements to rebalance your system, but note that if you don’t have a deficiency, supplementation might not do you any good. Again, talk to a functional medicine practitioner who can give you more personalized and specific information about how you can use your nutrition to combat your condition.
Reducing and Managing Stress
Reducing areas in your life that cause you too much stress can help you regain control over your health. On top of that, learning healthy stress management skills can ease inflammation by helping you get a better night’s sleep and decrease bingeing on food.
As I said before, in light of this information, I recommend partnering with a highly skilled functional medicine practitioner who can pinpoint your specific and unique imbalances so that you have the best chance at healing with an individualized treatment plan.