What Is Insulin Resistance and How The Answer Impacts Your Life?
Insulin Resistance Syndrome, or Metabolic Syndrome, affects over 70 million Americans.
So, What is Insulin Resistance?
First, Insulin is a hormone produced by our pancreas. This hormone’s purpose is to control our metabolism keeping our blood sugar levels in check and supplying the cells in our muscles with energy. When we eat or drink, the carbohydrates, fats and proteins are converted into sugars that enter the blood stream. When the blood sugar level reaches a certain point, a signal causes the pancreas to begin producing insulin. The insulin is like a dinner bell for the cells primarily fat and muscle cells that absorb and use sugar the most. It signals them that it is time to open up and feed or allow the sugar to get into the cells. This removes the sugars from the blood and as the blood sugar level drops, insulin production is turned off. This is the normal process of our metabolism and it happens every time we take in food.
When a person has developed insulin resistance, various cells throughout the body don’t respond to the wake-up call that the insulin sends out, so it responds by releasing larger and larger amounts of insulin before the cells wake up and begin absorbing the blood sugars.
Eventually a point is reached where the insulin signal no longer works and the sugar absorbed from the meals has no where to go, so the blood sugar levels get higher and higher and the insulin levels get higher and higher.
During this phase the afflicted person may not even realize what is going on within their bodies. Eventually a point is reached where the blood sugar levels remain elevated while fasting and not just after a meal; at that time, Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed.
What are the causes of Insulin Resistance?
Insulin resistance generally occurs after the age of 40, although with the lifestyles of our children today, it is being noted earlier and earlier. As with Type 2 diabetes, the main culprit is an unhealthy lifestyle. Being obese, poor diet, aging and a sedentary life appear to be the main reason people develop insulin resistance or the metabolic syndrome. Genetics oftentimes plays a role as well. If you have a history of Type 2 diabetes in your family, you are much more likely to develop insulin resistance. Other variables such as steroid use and serious infections or illnesses may also trigger this disease.
What are the Symptoms of Insulin Resistance?
If you have any of the following symptoms you should speak to your doctor about being tested for insulin resistance.
The most prevalent symptoms are:
- Obesity with a high concentration of the fat in the abdominal region
- High cholesterol and or triglyceride levels
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Family history of Type 2 diabetes
Other symptoms may include:
- Fatigue that increase after eating
- Decreased memory or feeling a bit foggy at times
- Darkened patches in the folds of your skin
- Increased incidences of skin tags
- Ovarian cysts and menstrual irregularities
How to Help Insulin Resistance?
First, in most cases a change in lifestyle is all that is needed to decrease your chances of developing insulin resistance or to prevent it from further developing into Type 2 diabetes and all of the other life-threatening diseases associated with it.
Bringing your weight back to normal through diet and exercise and removing the high concentration of abdominal fat will help your cells to better hear the wake-up call of the insulin hormone and will decrease the amount of insulin your pancreas needs to produce to manage your metabolism.
Current nutritional research shows promising results with dietary supplements such as alpha-lipoic acid and grape seed extract. Both of these ingredients are being tested in human clinical trials and have provided positive benefit to decreasing insulin resistance and helping the body to process sugar better and lowering the risk for Type 2 diabetes. More information about these type of nutritional supplements will be provided soon.
In many cases, the person has no idea it is occurring in their bodies until it progresses to Type 2 diabetes and they begin feeling unwell. The signs of insulin resistance are not glaringly apparent to the individual and therefore tend to get ignored until it is too late and serious damage has been done.
Left untreated, insulin resistance will decrease your quality of life and almost certainly shorten your lifespan. Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and loss of vision have all been linked to this disease. If you want to avoid these types of complications, take action now.Back to Blog Page