Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that can cause weight loss or weight gain. If uncontrolled diabetes can cause weight loss, while some medications and insulin treatments may lead to weight gain.
Unexpected weight loss caused by diabetes is a common phenomenon in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes; this phenomenon is mainly attributed to high blood sugar, dehydration, muscle breakdown, and problems with the thyroid.
1. Increased glucose levels in the blood
High blood glucose levels is a direct result of your body’s inability to properly utilize insulin. The primary function of insulin is to regulate your blood sugar levels, and to transport the glucose we get from food to cells for energy use. With diabetes, the body is either unable to produce insulin or it becomes insulin resistant, which is when cells stop responding to insulin. This causes high blood sugar because the glucose we get from eating remains in the blood. Eventually the glucose will be excreted from the body without being used as a source energy for cells. As a result, the cells start burning fats and using muscles as an energy source causing unintentional weight loss.
2. Calories lost due to frequent urination
Frequent urination leads to an excessive loss of bodily fluids, if it is not addressed by drinking large amounts of water it can cause dehydration. Diabetes causes frequent urination because the kidneys work overtime to filter the large amounts of glucose building up in the body. This excretion of glucose is also a loss of essential calories. The primary reason behind unexpected weight loss in diabetes could be dehydration which is caused by polyuria or frequent urination.
3. Reduction in muscle synthesis
Muscle loss is another major factor behind unexplained weight loss for people living with diabetes. Lack of insulin in the body has been found to cause a reduction in muscle synthesis and an increase in muscle breakdown. Because muscles constitute a significant part of a person’s body weight, its rapid disintegration and slow regeneration inadvertently results in unintended weight loss in a diabetic person.
4. Thyroid disorder
Thyroid disorders are pretty common in people living with diabetes. People with hyperthyroidism experience weight loss as the thyroid is responsible for regulating a person’s metabolic rate. When the thyroid begins to produce an excessive amount of thyroxin it increases your metabolic rate and eventually causes weight loss. Hyperthyroidism also leads to poor blood glucose control and causes the liver to produce excessive amounts of insulin causing greater insulin resistance.
This unintentional weight loss in diabetes is not only unhealthy, but can also cause damage to your internal organs like the heart, kidneys, nerves, and eyes. Proper dieting and using the right medication plays a crucial role to attaining a balanced long-term weight.