Let’s face it: Too much of fatty foods, delicious meals and indulgence with alcohol creates a beer belly or in other words, a big, fat abdomen.
If you’re the butt of jokes it might seem trivial to have a beer belly, but do you know that a beer belly is more than a joke? Seriously, men with beer bellies are more prone to diabetes, heart attack and stroke.
Generally, fat is stored in 2 ways: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat refers to fat stored below the skin, while visceral fat as the name implies is stored in your abdominal cavity and around internal organs in your abdomen, such as: your intestines, liver and pancreas and contributes to that special shape called beer belly. However, visceral fat may not be obvious.
Researchers say this originated in the early times when our ancestors were hunters and gatherers. They needed to have speed when they hunted, trapped prey, fought and fled to evade their predators. Their endurance comes from a steady supply of fatty acids stored in their bellies and are used by the muscles for energy. Their daily lifestyle consisted mainly of walking, hunting and gathering.
Modern men do not need this storage of fat. However, the body is genetically programmed to store fat in the abdomen and this is usually due to too much caloric intake without adequate physical activity to get rid of it.
Furthermore, as men age, their metabolism slows down and they accumulate more fat than they can burn.
When you’re overweight, your pancreas produces more insulin than normal to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Overproduction of insulin causes the pancreas to fail. When there is too much insulin in the blood stream, the cells start to die. The high concentration of fat compounds accumulate in the liver, giving rise to fatty liver and affecting the ability of the liver to function efficiently. As a result, diabetes occurs.
In this case, the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or there might be insulin present but the cells do not utilize it properly - the so-called insulin resistance. Consequenlty, blood sugar levels rise in the blood stream.
In the long term, the high blood sugar that circulates in your blood stream wreaks havoc on your essential organs and cause many serious complications.
It can give rise to end stage kidney failure, heart disease, heart attack, blindness, and foot amputations, among others. When the kidney cannot function anymore, it can cause toxic chemicals to accumulate in the body, coma and death.
Diabetes presents itself with very few or unnoticed symptoms in the very early stages unless you go for a screening. Most times, it’s an incidental finding. It is always important to go for a diabetes screening at age 35.
There is no cure for diabetes mellitus yet. It can only be managed to keep your blood sugar under control and prevent dreadful complications.
Your endocrinologist will determine what medications are best - oral medication or insulin. Exercise helps muscle cells utilize glucose, while weight loss can help decrease your risk of diabetes mellitus - and so does a balanced diet.