What is Insulin Resistance And How Does It Effect You?
Insulin is a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas when blood glucose concentration levels increase. Glucose is not a bad thing in normal circumstances. It is our body’s key source of energy and it helps our bodies to function at optimal levels. However, it has been estimated that over 80 million Americans are dealing with insulin resistance, and that number seems to be rising.
The Normal Actions Of Insulin
When you eat a meal, food is absorbed into the bloodstream and the amount of glucose in the blood rises. This increase of glucose sends a signal through your body that insulin needs to be released into the bloodstream to clear it out. Insulin is created by your pancreas, and it helps to draw out the glucose from the blood and stimulate the cells to take in the glucose for energy.
What Is Insulin Resistance?
When your blood sugar levels are high, more insulin is produced to help the cells take in the glucose. However, if blood sugar levels are constantly high, insulin is constantly produced. This over-production of insulin causes the cells to become almost numb and desensitized to the messages constantly being sent to them, and this is when insulin resistance occurs, and this is why it’s so important to control your insulin levels.
The Consequences Of Insulin Resistance
High blood sugar can cause serious health problems. First, when our cells do not respond to insulin, and our blood sugar rises, this sends the message to our body that there is more than enough energy available in our cells, and that the excess sugar can now be converted into fat instead of used for energy. This can make weight control very hard to do as more and more fat is stored in the body instead of being used for energy.
Insulin resistance can lead to many other issues as well.
- Damage of the nerves
- Damage of the blood vessels
- Damage of body organs
- Ketoacidosis (When your body releases the fat that it was supposed to use for energy and causes a rise of ketones in the blood) – Fatty liver
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Inflammation in the body
It is important to pay attention to the warning signs that you may be developing insulin resistance before major problems occur. Signs of insulin resistance could include:
- Brain fogginess
- High blood sugar and triglycerides (get a simple blood test to find out)
- Fatigue, especially after eating
- Mental issues, such as depression and mood swings
- Increased appetite
- Excessive thirst
- Gaining weight in the abdominal area
- Irritable bowel syndrome
If you are worried or suspect that you may be suffering from high blood sugar, it is best to get tested quickly. Insulin resistance does not always come with symptoms, and it may progress too far before symptoms start to really appear.
“Most people with insulin resistance do not have any symptoms. In most cases, the body is able to keep pace with the need for extra insulin production for many years.” – Lab Tests Online
Two Major Causes Of Insulin Resistance
Diet is the number one cause of insulin resistance. Eating too many sugary, white, and refined foods increases the amount of sugar in the blood. Moreover, a high carb diet that includes foods like potatoes, beans, whole grains, rice, oats, and corn, can cause a rise of blood sugar in the body because all carbohydrates break down into sugar. Unfortunately, this is the standard diet of most people in the western world, and this is likely a huge reason why insulin resistance is rising among the population, and why there is an even greater need for many to watch what they eat.
Stress is also a cause of insulin resistance. When you are stressed, your body prepares itself by making sure you have enough sugar available for energy. So, when you are experiencing a high level of stress, your liver releases sugar into the blood stream. The liver is the body’s glucose reservoir, and it is what keeps sugars circulating through your blood. Constant stress can equal a constant release of sugar, which can eventually create insulin resistance.