What Causes Unexpected Weight Loss in Diabetics?

Insulin resistance can lead to ketosis and ketoacidosis in type 1 diabetics.

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You step onto the scale and see your weight has gone down quite a bit since the last time you checked. Your initial instinct may be to celebrate the unexpected weight loss. But, if you haven’t been on a diet, it might not be a good sign.

What could be so bad about losing weight?

The problem with dropping the pounds is that it may be a sign of diabetes. It could also be a sign that you aren’t managing your diabetes well.

High Blood Sugar + Insulin Resistance Equals…

Normally, the body releases insulin into your bloodstream to help its cells absorb free glucose from the blood. This sugar is then used for energy production within the cell. However, people with diabetes can’t make effective use of their glucose.

When cells can’t get enough glucose, they are forced to turn to another energy source. You see, the body has a backup system in place. If there isn’t any sugar available, then your body burns fat for fuel.

Many people use this backup to purposely lose weight by eating a very low-carb, high-fat diet. A similar event occurs with diabetics who have insulin resistance or no insulin. If they don’t have enough insulin to absorb blood glucose, their bodies turn to this fat-burning process called ketosis.




Ketoacidosis Is Next

You may think that ketosis is a good thing, but it’s not necessarily. Diabetics who don’t get enough insulin but who continue to eat a lot of sugar, will develop complications of their disease. That sugar remains in the bloodstream where it damages cells, such as nerves, muscle tissue, and even organs.

Another potential problem is ketoacidosis. When a lot of fat is burned, the byproducts of the process, acids called ketones, can build up in the bloodstream. Too many acids alter the chemical makeup of your blood, leading to:

  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • confusion
  • difficulty breathing

Type 1 diabetics are much more likely to develop this condition because their bodies produce very little to no insulin. They may also have trouble keeping weight on since their bodies need to burn fat to fuel their cells.

If you notice sudden weight loss but still have high blood sugar levels, speak with your doctor as soon as possible. You’ll need to correct the imbalance to maintain good health.

References

Keeping the Pounds On: Causes of Unexplained Weight Loss. URL Link. Accessed May 24, 2017.

What You Should Know About Diabetic Ketoacidosis. URL Link. Accessed May 24, 2017.

Ketosis Vs. Ketoacidosis: What You Should Know. URL Link. Accessed May 24, 2017.


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Located in Northern Ohio, H. Hammond is a freelance copywriter. She has spent over 10 years writing internet content and marketing materials for clients. Her book, Flesheaters and Bloodsuckers Anonymous, is available on Amazon.