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Diabetes

Type 2 but not overweight?

10/20/2008

Question:

Is it possible for a person who isn`t overweight to get Type 2 diabetes? My sister was just diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. She is 5`3 and weighs 113 lbs. She does not seem overweight to me, and she does not eat junk food.I thought Type 2 diabetes was caused by being overweight and eating junk food. When I look up Type 2 diabetes on the Internet almost everything I read talks about losing weight. How much weight should my sister lose? I`m afraid if she loses too much that will be unhealthy for her too. She has always dieted all her life to keep from getting fat, ever since she was a teenager. She hardly eats anything. Sometimes her husband even gets mad at her because she won`t ever eat dinner with the family, she just stands there and watches and then eats a bowl of soup after everybody else is done. Why would she get diabetes? She is 54.

Thank you.

Answer:

I think it is very reasonable to question whether diabetes in a person who fits the description you provide is type 1 or type 2.  The information provided is not sufficient for me to distinguish between them.  Not everybody with type 2 diabetes is overweight and not everybody who develops diabetes at the age of 54 has type 2 diabetes.  If the health care provider she is seeing can provide good answers as to why they are labelling her one way or the other that may be sufficient.  If not, then perhaps an additional opinion may be warranted.

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Response by:

Robert M Cohen, MD Robert M Cohen, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati