Why Do People With Diabetes Lose Weight And How To Stop It?

Diabetes mellitus commonly known as type 2 diabetes is becoming serious health burden worldwide. Millions of people all over the world are suffering from diabetes. Diabetes is a lifelong disease and its careful management is extremely important for preventing complications. It is a leading cause of adult blindness, kidney failure, atherosclerosis and non traumatic amputations.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the body does not utilize energy properly. You may have heard obesity increases the risk of diabetes and many obese people are known to be suffering from diabetes. However, many few know that diabetes can also cause unexplained weight loss. This may occur even though patient is eating and drinking in excess.  Concurrently these two are other symptoms of diabetes.

There are several mechanisms behind unexplained weight loss in diabetes. But to know further, first we must understand how diabetes affects human system.

Normally the food that we eat gets digested in the intestine and the vital nutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamin and minerals get absorbed in the blood and then in the body tissues and cells.

Carbohydrates get converted into sugar which circulates in the blood. Pancreas located behind stomach is a gland that releases a hormone called insulin. The main function of insulin is to direct circulating sugar into the cells so that it can be utilized as a source of energy. However, in diabetes the sugar circulating in blood does not get utilized by cells because of lack of insulin production or due to insulin resistance by cells.

Diabetes is of two types; type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. In type 1, pancreases do not produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, there is less production of insulin in pancreas as well as the cells do not respond to insulin leading to insulin resistance. In both this conditions, glucose remains circulating in the blood rather than used as cellular fuel. As cells are unable to use sugar as energy source it signals brain for the need of fuel. Brain responses it by triggering the hunger center. Hence diabetic patients feel hungry and they eat more food. But the more patient eats his blood sugar rises instead of it reaching into the cells. Now kidney has to work harder to clear sugar from blood through urine. For this kidney requires increased amount of water to flush out sugar hence diabetic patient experiences excess of thirst.

Besides triggering hunger the brain also instructs body fat cells and muscle tissue to breakdown so that they can also provide energy to the cells. It is because of this process patient with uncontrolled diabetes often experience sudden weight loss. If this condition remains untreated over a period of time, it can damage the vital body organs such as kidney, eyes and nerves.

Thyroid problem is found more in people suffering from diabetes. Thyroid is a gland located in front part of neck. Thyroid secretes hormones that control metabolic activity in the body. Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which thyroid works faster and produces more thyroid hormone than that needed by the body. Hyperthyroidism increases metabolic rate and thus causes weight loss. Dysfunction of thyroid can worsen blood sugar level in diabetics. It also increases overall metabolic activity such as heart rate, sweating, tremor in fingers. Increase in metabolic activity in hyperthyroidism leads to unexplained weight loss.

How To Stop Weight Loss In Diabetes?

Diabetes cannot be cured but with proper management your high blood sugar can be controlled. This may also help in maintaining healthy weight.

  • Eat frequently: Instead of 3 large meals eat smaller meals but 5 to 6 times in a day.
  • Eat foods that are rich in nutrients: Eat foods that are made from whole grain. Avoid processed foods. Eat fruits and vegetables in excess as it fills the stomach and provides less sugar.
  • Include nuts, cheese, avocados and dried fruit in your snacks as they provide energy as well as vital nutrients.
  • Eat foods that contain complex carbohydrates instead simple carbohydrates. Eat grains, beans, yogurt, etc. Avoid direct sugary foods such as pastries, ice cream, chocolates and sweets.
  • Exercise regularly: It helps to add muscles and consequently increase in body weight. Weight lifting and strength training will help to increase muscle mass.