TUESDAY, Feb. 14, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Type 1 diabetes has long been considered a disease of thin people, but a new study challenges that notion.
About 62% of adults with type 1 diabetes were overweight or obese, the researchers found. This compared to 64% of people without diabetes and 86% of people with type 2 diabetes.
For the study, researchers used data from more than 128,000 people from the US National Health Interview Survey.
Researchers found that 34% of adults with type 1 diabetes were overweight. About 28% were obese.
Despite these high numbers, just over half of overweight or obese adults with type 1 diabetes received lifestyle recommendations from health professionals, such as increasing physical activity or cutting calories, the results showed.
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The study authors said this is likely because the insulin needed to treat type 1 diabetes carries the risk of dangerously low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) if combined with intense exercise or severely reduced caloric intake.
“The lack of evidence for safe and effective methods of weight management based on diet and exercise in people with type 1 diabetes may be preventing clinicians from recommending such methods,” said study first author Michael Fang, assistant professor at Bloomberg. from Johns Hopkins University. School of Public Health in Baltimore. “Large clinical trials have been done in patients with type 2 diabetes to establish guidelines for diet and exercise-based weight management, and now we need something similar for patients with type 1 diabetes.”
Although people with type 1 diabetes have been heavily affected by the overweight and obesity epidemic in the United States, they are not being advised to manage their weight in the same way as people with type 2 diabetes.
“Our study dispels the myth that people with type 1 diabetes are not being affected by the global obesity epidemic,” said study senior author Elizabeth Selvin, professor in the department of epidemiology at the Bloomberg School, in a press release. from Hopkins. “These findings should be a wake-up call that we need to be aggressive in dealing with the obesity epidemic in people with type 1 diabetes.”
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that usually develops in childhood, although it can also occur in adults. Type 2 diabetes is common in older adults and people who are overweight.
In type 1, a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the pancreatic cells that produce insulin. This is the essential hormone that directs cells to absorb glucose from the blood.
About 1.6 million American adults age 20 and older have type 1 diabetes, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They must rely on an insulin pump or insulin injections.
While being overweight can increase the risk of a number of serious health problems, patients with type 1 diabetes may be at additional risk. For example, obesity tends to make the body less sensitive to insulin. This could mean the need for higher insulin doses or less predictable blood glucose responses.
The findings were published online Feb. 14 in a research letter on Annals of Internal Medicine. Research support was provided by the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information about type 1 diabetes.
SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, press release, February 13, 2023