How does uncontrolled diabetes lead to weight loss? (Post D-054)
When the diabetes is not under good control, there is not enough insulin and as a result not enough glucose enters the cell. Glucose is needed to run the cell machine (enzymes) that creates proteins. As a result in poorly controlled diabetes proteins cannot be created in the cell. This causes weight loss.
Explanation: Our body is continuously breaking down proteins and making up new proteins. To make new proteins the cells in the body need glucose to run the cell machinery including the enzymes.
Normally this glucose comes from sugars (carb or carbohydrate) part of the food we eat. After absorption in the intestine this glucose is added to the blood. This glucose in the blood needs insulin to enter the cell. In diabetes, due to lack of or absence of insulin this glucose cannot leave the bloodstream and cannot enter the cells. As a result the blood level of the glucose increases (uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes) and the availability of glucose inside the cell decreases. In the absence of sufficient glucose the cell cannot function properly and new proteins cannot be created. This leads to weight loss. Another reason for weight loss in poorly controlled diabetes is that when the body cannot use the glucose from the diet it starts breaking down fats and later proteins to create new glucose. This can also contribute to weight loss.
Weight loss due to poorly controlled diabetes is a very serious situation. It needs urgent evaluation by a doctor and management of the diabetes under close medical supervision for the next few weeks.
Uncontrolled diabetes has high blood glucose levels. This glucose when it exceeds a level of 180 mg% is excreted in the urine. It takes away a lot of water with it causing dehydration and even may cause some weight loss.
However, loss of protein mass is the most important and serious problem. After diabetes is successfully treated this weight loss takes a few weeks to recover.
If your diabetes is well controlled and you are still losing weight, your doctor will check you for depression, thyroid over action and will also make tests to rule out presence of any cancer in your body or of any other significant illness.
Summary: Weight loss in poorly controlled diabetes means that the body is in a negative metabolic state. There is more loss of body mass than the creation of body mass. It is a serious condition that needs urgent attention from your doctor.