Health consciousness is more prevalent in today’s era. The general perception is that thin people are at a lower risk of health conditions and complications. Especially in the case of conditions like type 2 diabetes, the belief is that it is a condition developed in people with obesity. However, the incidence of type 2 diabetes, or lean diabetes as it is called, can occur in those with healthy body weight as well. In fact, it can be more lethal in those with normal weight than in the people with obesity.1
The occurrence of lean diabetes
Studies have shown that lean diabetes occurs more in people from developing or third-world countries. In other places, it also shows a higher risk among those belonging to the minority communities. Within this group, it has been observed that males are more likely to develop lean diabetes. Some of the most important factors that contribute to the onset of lean diabetes are behavioural, auto-immune and genetic factors. It is common to find a history of low socio-economic status and malnutrition along with early onset of diabetes and the absence of ketosis on withdrawal of insulin in such patients.2
Complications arising from lean diabetes
Thin people with type 2 diabetes can be in a greater danger than people with obesity. The risk of death due to heart disease or other complications is twice as high in this age group as compared to people with obesity and type 2 diabetes.1
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes
Of the symptoms experienced by people with type 2 diabetes, the following symptoms can indicate trouble and a need for medical assistance:3
- Delayed healing of wounds and infections
- Increased feeling of thirst and the need to urinate
- Greater hunger
- Diminished or blurred vision
Managing lean diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a condition that needs to be managed throughout life. There is no known cure for the condition, and the levels of blood glucose can only be maintained to ensure better health. Some important considerations include:3
- Careful monitoring of sugar levels – people with type 2 diabetes need to check their sugar levels once or twice a day and less often if it is under control. The need to check at frequent intervals may arise when the individuals are under stress or experiencing increased symptoms of the condition.
- Since heart health is especially essential for lean diabetes, regular exercise is very important. Exercise can help regulate sugar levels, improve the circulation of blood throughout the body and can lower the stress levels. However, a medical consultation is mandatory before starting any exercise program. In addition, the careful monitoring of blood sugar levels before and after exercise is strongly recommended.
- It has been observed that both smoking and alcohol intake affect the onset of diabetes. Therefore, it is best to avoid both in order to maintain better health.2
Type 2 diabetes has been known to affect the younger population, further causing them to depend on insulin at an earlier age and prompting a greater dependence on it.2 It is important to create an awareness of type 2 diabetes considering that it can be fatal. Take a more hands-on approach towards managing your diabetes to improve your quality of life.
- Harvard Health Publishing. Diabetes can strike – hard – even when weight is normal [Internet]. [updated 2012 Aug 8; cited 2019 Dec 13]. Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/diabetes-can-strike-hard-even-when-weight-is-normal-201208085121.
- George AM, Jacob AG, Fogelfeld L. Lean diabetes mellitus: an emerging entity in the era of obesity. World J Diabetes. 2015 May 15;6(4):613-620. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v6.i4.613.
- MedlinePlus. Type 2 diabetes [Internet]. [updated on 2019 Dec 2; cited 2019 Dec 13]. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000313.htm.