(CNN) -The possible complications from diabetes are many and severe: blindness, amputations, kidney damage and more.
Diabetes is also implicated in a set of factors which can damage the heart. It's called metabolic syndrome, and simple weight loss is a good way to prevent it.
It turns out, being overweight can have a cascade effect on health; opening the door to not just diabetes, but to an associated set of complications that can be damaging to the heart known as 'metabolic syndrome.'
"The term 'metabolic syndrome' was invented to capture those risk factors that accompany diabetes," said Dr. David Nathan, Massachusetts General Hospital.
Those risk factors include high blood pressure, low levels of 'good' cholesterol, high levels of lipids, or fats, in the blood, fat around the abdomen and, of course, elevated blood sugar. Dr. Nathan says high blood sugar or diabetes seems to be a triggering factor for other symptoms of metabolic syndrome.
"Once you have diabetes, you get elevated blood pressure, in like 75 percent of people, elevated lipids in another 75 percent of people," Dr. Nathan explained.
Diabetes is largely a genetic disease, and so it can't always be prevented by weight loss. But for the majority, weight control remains perhaps the most important way of keeping diabetes and metabolic syndrome at bay.
In other health news, April is Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month and the Leah M. Fitch Cancer Center in Lawton is having the 'Just say ahh' screenings on Saturday, April 16, from 8 a.m. until noon. For more information or to make an appointment, call 580-250-6565.