It’s a common perception that only obese individuals get affected by type 2 diabetes. However, a lean person as per the body mass index could also be prone to type 2 diabetes. A thin person could be metabolically equivalent to an obese person as the BMI does not measure the fat around the body organs.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body becomes insulin resistant and does not use insulin the way it should. Type 2 diabetes is more prevalent among adults, but younger people are also getting affected.
Dr Ambrish Mithal, Chairman and Head of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Max Healthcare, Delhi, told Indian Express that people often assume that they won’t get type 2 diabetes if they are not overweight.
Dr Mithal mentioned that diabetes is not always related to how we look. Many people believe that if their BMI (Body Mass Index) is under 25, then they are healthy. But the weighing scale can give a false sense of security.
“Individuals with normal body weight but with an increased proportion of body fat and low muscle mass often have insulin resistance. They are equally at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes,” Dr Mithal told the Indian Express.
According to Dr Mithal, lack of physical exercise could be the main reason behind type 2 diabetes. Low physical activity can result in low muscle mass and increase insulin resistance even in a lean individual. Such lean individuals have a low muscle mass and a high proportion of body fat and experience the same effect as those who are obese, explained Dr Mithal.
A thin person with high visceral fat and cholesterol is also prone to diabetes. The risk for such individuals is higher if there is a history of diabetes in the family, according to Dr Mithal.
The type 2 diabetes patients are usually prescribed oral anti-diabetic drugs initially, but may also require insulin earlier in the course than obese patients. There are few types of diabetes classified as monogenic diabetes, where a single gene defect can cause the disease and such patients are not always overweight.