Skinny People Can Get Type 2 Diabetes…
A common misconception about Type 2 Diabetes is that it will only affect you if you are a heavier person. Can Skinny People Get Type 2 Diabetes? The answer is yes.
What most people don’t know is that Type 2 Diabetes can affect anyone of any size, shape, or weight. Roughly 15% of people with Type 2 Diabetes are of normal weight.
My cousin who died of complications from Type 2 Diabetes was one of these people. He left a young son behind, and an entire family devastated. He was also what could be considered thin.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 Diabetes1https://www.cdc.gov/Type 2 Diabetes/basics/Type 2 Diabetes.html. is a disease that occurs when your body cannot process sugar from the foods you eat. This happens when your body does not make enough insulin. It can also happen when your body does not respond to insulin the way it should. Type 2 Diabetes can affect thin people.
Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes, and gestational Type 2 Diabetes all affect thin people.
An autoimmune reaction causes Type 1 diabetes. An autoimmune reaction is when the body loses the ability to tell itself from another. The body then attacks its own organs and tissues. Autoimmune diseases affect about 24 million2]https://www.gene.com/stories/autoimmune-disease-101. Americans. This stops the body from making enough insulin. Type 1 Diabetes is often diagnosed in childhood and accounts for 5-10% of people with Type 2 Diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the body does not use insulin as well as it should. It accounts for 90-95% of people with diabetes 3https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/quick-facts. Most often, Type 2 Diabetes occurs in heavier people. It can also occur in people who do not appear to be heavier.
Gestational Type 2 Diabetes develops during pregnancy. Most of these women did not have diabetes diagnosed before pregnancy.
Many women who develop gestational Type 2 Diabetes are not considered to be over a healthier weight.
Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes in Thin/Skinny People
There are so many factors that can contribute to Type 2 Diabetes in thin people. The exact cause is unknown. Genetics is the leading factor in the development of Type 2 Diabetes. This is true for thin people as well.
If you have one parent that has Type 2 diabetes, you need to be aware of this. Your risk of the disease for yourself is 40%.
When BOTH of your parents have Type 2 Diabetes, then the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes increases to 70%. Other risk factors for developing Type 2 Diabetes include4 https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/Type 2 Diabetes/understand-your-risk-for-Type 2 Diabetes.:
- Poor dietary habits
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Having non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Poor sleeping habits
- Cigarette smoking
- Drinking excess alcohol
- poor nutrition as a child
- Male gender
- African American or Asian descent
How Can I Reduce My Risk of Type 2 Type 2 Diabetes as a Thin Person?
There are some risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes that you cannot change, such as your gender and ethnicity. If you are at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, you can manage some risk factors to reduce your disease risk. Some lifestyle modifications you can make include:
- Eat a healthy diet. At HelpForYourDiabetes.com, we know that diet is key. Based on medical reports from reputable sources, a fat-burning diet is helpful. The Keto diet, combined with Intermittent Fasting is one such diet. People on a Keto diet can achieve glycemic control. That means blood sugar control, without causing weight loss in thinner individuals5https://casereports.bmj.com/content/13/7/e234223.[/mfn].
- Get some exercise. Being active is important. Did you know that walking only 2 minutes after each meal will reduce your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes 5https://today.ucsd.edu/story/walking-may-reduce-type-2-diabetes-risk-for-adults-65-older?
- Consider adding a walk into your daily routine. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is good. Parking farther out in parking lots when shopping. A 2-15-minute walk after eating helps use the glucose from your meal. It also helps to bring high blood sugar down. We know that any spike in blood sugar can cause permanent harm to the body.
- Reduce your stress levels. Managing stress levels can decrease your risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Think about meditation before sleeping to improve stress and rest. There are many free apps available now that can help with this. Visit with friends and family who make you laugh and relax.
More ideas for reducing your risk:
- Get enough sleep. Adults should be sleeping 6-8 hours per night. A routine before bedtime is essential. This helps you wind down and prepare for sleep. Think about reading for 20 minutes before falling asleep. Avoid screen time before bed. Set your computer and phone to adjust the brightness after 7 pm. This will help you get a restful night’s sleep.
- Do not smoke: If you smoke, you should quit. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your health. Quitting smoking can also reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
- Do not drink alcohol in excess. To benefit your health, females should not consume more than seven drinks per week. Males should not consume more than fourteen drinks per week. If you are drinking alcohol in excess, consider reducing the amount you drink daily. This will reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
Can Skinny People Get Type 2 Diabetes? Risks of Untreated Type 2 Diabetes in Thin People
Untreated Type 2 Diabetes can lead to severe consequences. This is because high blood sugar/glucose levels cause damage to the blood vessels in your eyes6https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/diabetic-retinopathy. The story of what happened to my cousin is so sad. He went completely blind and lost his job.
Also, your kidneys, heart, and brain take damage. When blood vessels become damaged, you develop an increased risk of dementia. No one wants an increased risk of blindness, kidney and heart failure, nerve damage, and even death. This is what untreated diabetes has in store for us. To read more about diabetic kidney damage click here.
There has been some evidence that Type 2 Diabetes can be more harmful to your health if you are of healthy weight. So, if you are thin and have Type 2 Diabetes, you must control your blood sugars.
“A study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that normal-weight people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes have double the risk of dying from heart disease and other causes than overweight people with diabetes.” 7https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/diabetes-can-strike-hard-even-when-weight-is-normal-201208085121
What Should I do If I am Concerned That I Will Develop Type 2 Diabetes?
If you think you may develop Type 2 Diabetes due to your risk factors, the best things you can do are:
- Be aware of how much sugar you are drinking and eating,
- Make a plan to shift that and also speak with your doctor to get lab tests ordered.
- Ask your doctor to order A1c and Fasting Blood Sugar blood tests to see where your numbers fall.
- Do not wait until you have a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis to then try to reverse it.
Thank yourself for getting ahead of it!