BECOMING diabetic after rapid weight loss?
March 8, 2019 5:37 AM   Subscribe

A friend claims that someone she knew became type 2 diabetic after losing weight too quickly, that it caused a hormonal imbalance. I thought only the pancreas’ insulin outputwould make a person have diabetes. The person is male in his 30s if that matters. Can anyone link me to a medical abstract or endocrine study?
posted by ayc200 to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Type 2 diabetes is caused not by the pancreas's insufficient insulin production, but by cellular resistance to the insulin. Over time the pancreas tries to overcome the resistance by increasing its insulin output. It can begin to exhaust itself, and at that point you have both problems.

I haven't heard of rapid weight loss causing Type 2, but I'm not an expert or a doc.

The best way for a non-doc to find the best studies, imo, is to start with the top consumer medical sites like Mayo, Johns Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic, NIH, etc. They phrase information for a general audience, but they cite the scientific foundations.

Good luck to your friend. It's not a death sentence -- far from it. Type 2 diabetes can be managed effectively, and it's getting easier to do so. 23 years of experience here.
posted by LonnieK at 6:12 AM on March 8, 2019 [6 favorites]

I know a couple people whose type 2 or insulin resistance got better with increased muscle mass and worse with less.

It's also possible there's a third factor here, like he started doing shift work or taking a new med, and that factor has boned his appetite, weight, and stress level, and consequently also A1C.
posted by bagel at 7:06 AM on March 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Research is possibly showing a connection between high levels of stress to increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Knowing how/why they lost the weight too quickly could play more of a part in the trigger or the weight loss itself might be the stressor.

Anecdotally. My mother became a type 2 diabetic almost 60 years ago, doctors at the time told her it was caused by the stress of a near death incident that had occurred a few months before where she was lost at sea for most of a day & almost drowned from exhaustion. Even more anecdotally, I ended up with really bad gallstones & pancreatitis after massive weight loss, so losing weight quickly can mess up your system.
posted by wwax at 7:08 AM on March 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

At the time Tom Hanks announced that he has Type II, a number of articles mentioned that a contributing factor may have been his extreme changes in weight and body mass for his roles. But of course this could be as much about the gains in weight as it is about the loss of weight.

People can be Type II at any weight, but if you are a person with significant body fat, losing that body fat slowly in a controlled way can certainly help keep your glucose numbers in line.
posted by anastasiav at 7:11 AM on March 8, 2019

anecdotally I noticed myself getting low blood sugar symptoms when I became leaner and more muscular. It seemed to me at the time like the explanation was that while my cellular insulin resistance was going down, my insulin production was still at the same level, so it had a more profound impact, leading to blood sugar crashes after eating high GI foods/drinks at certain times of the day.
posted by some loser at 8:36 AM on March 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Rapid weight loss can cause gallstones and lead to pancreatitis which leads to damage to insulin producing cells which leads to high blood glucose levels.
Weight loss in general improves blood glucose.
posted by SyraCarol at 10:22 PM on March 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

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