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What is insulin?
Insulin is a hormone created in the pancreas used to manage blood sugar – also known as glucose. When carbohydrates enter the bloodstream, they raise glucose levels. Glucose is vital for cell development, but glucose needs insulin in order to penetrate the cells. Too much glucose can cause forms of diabetes.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that is related to how insulin and glucose interact. Type 1 Diabetes occurs when insulin is not produced by the pancreas at all. This form of diabetes has been indicated to be an autoimmune idsease. The lack of insulin is the main reason diabetes occurs.
Type 2 Diabetes occurs when not enough insulin is produced. In this case, the pancreas is producing the hormone, but not enough to be effective for the glucose levels. Type 1 Diabetes must be treated with medication, while Type 2 Diabetes can often be managed through diet and exercise.
Insulin resistance is a precursor to diabetes and subsequent issues like heart disease and stroke. Managing glucose and insulin is an important part of preventing chronic disease and even life-threatening conditions.
While the domino effect resulting from no to low levels of insulin may seem scary, there is much that can be done to prevent and manage an insulin resistant body. Being mindful of the foods you eat and the way you move your body goes a long way towards prevention and management. Additionally, seeing your physician and knowing if you are at risk helps make the best decision for your specific needs.
Insulin resistance doesn’t necessarily have noticeable symptoms, which makes it a sneaky culprit. However, there are some indicators that suggest you may be insulin resistant:
- Consistently elevated blood pressure
- High triglycerides
- Overweight and obesity especially with abdominal weight
- family history of type 2 diabetes
- gestational diabetes in women
These factors are generally associated with being high-risk for multiple diseases, and insulin resistance tends to be one of the first indicators for much bigger problems if left untreated.
High insulin levels can also cause other problems including the following:
- Insulin feeds cancer cells
- Insulin damages the mitochondria (parts of the cells)
- Insulin impacts thyroid function and conversion of T4 to T3
- Increases the production of triglycerides in the body
- Insulin contributes to magnesium loss in the urine, which then makes the insulin resistance worse
- Insulin causes the kidneys to retain sodium. (Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo)
How do you test for insulin resistance?
Your physician can test your blood to confirm if you are insulin resistant, but you don’t have to wait for a diagnosis to make simple changes. You can also buy your own glucometer and test your blood sugar at home. And you can ask for a test for fasting insulin levels and the Hemoglobin A1c test.
What lifestyle changes can you make?
Lifestyle changes such as eating a low carbohydrate, high fiber diet naturally help reduce glucose levels in the blood. Regular exercise helps your muscles become more receptive to insulin and absorb more glucose from your blood. Intermittent fasting will lower insulin levels significantly and can be a major tool in the fight against diabetes.
Insulin is a vital hormone in your body with an important job. Doing what you can to make sure the insulin levels are the best they can be helps curb preventable diseases that can rob you of the future you deserve. Find out more from your physician and see if you are at risk for insulin resistance today.
And if you know or suspect you have insulin resistance, sign up for my private membership for women with insulin resistance, who are committed to balancing their blood sugar and reversing that insulin resistance. It is possible and can transform your life.