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Many Americans unknowingly increase their chances of diabetes when a vulnerable part of the body becomes inflamed. But you can take steps to offset this physiological development and lower your risk.
According to researchers in Australia, the body fat around your middle does more than force you to wear a larger belt. It attracts immune cells that promote inflammation, increasing your chances of diabetes.
“We have shown that insulin resistance in human obesity is closely related to the presence of inflammatory cells in fat tissue, in particular a population of macrophage cells,” says researcher Len Harrison.
Macrophages, white blood cells originating in bone marrow, are cells that are supposed to fight infection. When you gain a large amount of weight, these macrophages migrate into your body fat, cause inflammation and release cytokines, chemical messenger molecules used by immune cells to communicate. Cytokines can lead cells to become resistant to the effects of the hormone insulin, leading to diabetes and heart disease.
“The complications of obesity such as insulin resistance and diabetes, cardiovascular disease associated with hardening of the arteries, and liver problems are the result of inflammation that occurs in the fat tissue,” says Harrison. “These complications could be prevented by developing drugs that target certain cytokines released by the macrophages.
So if you exercise, eat more fruits and vegetables, cut back on processed foods and lose weight permanently, you may be able to reduce this inflammation, tighten your belt and shrink your risk of diabetes.