Insulin resistance is a topic that all diabetic people taking insulin , must know about it. Insulin is an important hormone which is released by a tiny part of our body known as “Pancreas ” situated beneath our stomach. This hormone plays important role to regulate several functions in our body specially blood sugar. for further details please read our article “ Are you Diabetic? part-1 “.
- What is Insulin Resistance ?
- Causes of the condition.
- Do i have insulin resistance ?
- Symptoms of the health condition.
- Insulin resistance and other diseases.
- Reduce insulin resistance..
It was Canadian Dr. Best who collected insulin from animals in a small quantity in year 1921. That was a natural insulin. The insulin we are taking to control our blood glucose is not taken from animals. Scientists examined the parts of natural insulin and made a copy insulin containing the same effects as the natural insulin. In this way the manufacturers of insulin are capable to produce/manufacture the insulin in large quantity to provide the insulin easily to the diabetes patients .
To understand this kind of health condition, need some basic information. We will talk about them separately.
Pancreas is a tiny part of our body situated beneath our stomach. When glucose level in our blood reach 180 mg/dl , the pancreas automatically release a Harmon called ” insulin”. The insulin released by our pancreas is so powerful that it complete its function ( reducing sugar level ) within very short time. During digestion, our pancreas makes pancreatic juices called enzymes. These enzymes break down sugars, fats, and starches. Our pancreas also helps our digestive system by making hormones. These are chemical messengers that travel through our blood. Insulin released by pancreas is mostly involved to regulate blood sugar. When we eat a meal that contains carbohydrates, amount of blood sugar increases. The cells in our pancreas detect the increase of sugar in our blood and pancreas starts releasing insulin in our blood. The released insulin then travels around our bloodstream . The insulin tells our body cells to pick up sugar from our blood. The picked sugar and insulin go to our muscle and other parts of our body and burn there to provide strength to the body parts. This process regulate blood sugar levels. When our body cells stop responding to insulin , the insulin is not spend and accumulate and remain in the blood , this condition is called ” insulin resistance” . In such condition, our pancreas is still releasing insulin which remain in blood making high insulin level in our blood. Doctors call it “Hyperinsulinemia “.
As the time pass, our body cells become more or completely resistant to insulin. In such condition , insulin and blood sugar levels rise high. If this situation is prolonged, the pancreas is damaged and production of insulin will be effected. Here we have great chances of having diabetes type 2. I returned home from abroad in 1976. I was told that wife of our neighbored has died with diabetes. She had a high level of un-used insulin in her blood. There are more than 9 % of adults worldwide which are effected by this type of health condition.
Having high level of un-used insulin in our blood is harmful to our health. Whereas increased insulin sensitivity is beneficial to our health.
Causes of the condition.
There are many factors which are cause of insulin resistance.
- The increased level of free fatty acids in blood (Free fatty acids (FFA) are produced by the hydrolysis of oils and fats. The level of FFA depends on time, temperature and moisture content because the oils and fats are exposed to various environments such as storage, processing, heating or frying ) are the main cause of insulin resistance. These acids effect on our body cells and body cells do not respond to insulin effectively . Consumption of too many calories and presence of excessive body fat are main cause of these free fatty acids. Overeating, weight gain and obesity are associated with insulin resistance. A belly fat that can accumulate around your organs can release many free fatty acids in blood.
- It is not necessary that insulin resistance is found in fatty people only. Any one can develop it.
- Excessive use of fructose ( a type of sugar found in honey and many fruits ) is another cause of insulin resistance.
- Inactivity::::::: Regular physical activity is beneficial to our health. It increases insulin sensitivity .
- The researchers found that a disruption in the bacterial arrangement in our gut ( the long tube in the body of a person or animal, through which food moves during the process of digesting food:). may cause inflammation which may worsen insulin resistance and other metabolic problems.
- Black, Hispanic and Asian people are at high risk.
Do i have insulin resistance?
If you like to know if you have insulin resistance, follow these methods;
- If you have high fasting insulin levels for many days, it is a very strong indicator of the condition.
- Keeping in view your blood sugar and insulin levels, a test called HOMA-IR can estimate insulin resistance. (HOMA-IR (Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance) tells you and your doctor how much insulin your pancreas needs to make to control your blood sugar levels .HOMA-IR was developed in the 80s and is an indirect measure: it is calculated from your fasting glucose and fasting insulin levels. While it might not be the best model overall, it’s still the most widely used model in clinical research).
Different studies provide slightly different ranges for HOMA-IR. But they all agree that the higher your HOMA-IR gets, the more insulin resistant you are.
Generally, you have optimal insulin sensitivity if your HOMA-IR is less than 1. Levels above 1.9 signal early insulin resistance, while levels above 2.9 signal significant insulin resistance.
If your HOMA-IR is high, your body is using more insulin than normal to keep your blood sugar in balance. The higher the number, the more resistant you are to insulin. Your doctor will interpret your HOMA-IR in conjunction with your signs and symptoms, medical history, and other test results.
- Being overweight or obesity specially having large amount of belly fat increases the risk of insulin resistance.
- Examine your whole body. If there are dark spot on your skin, it is also a sign of insulin resistance. ( The black spot on skin refer to a skin disease called Acanthosis Nigricans . Acanthosis nigricans is a condition that causes areas of dark, thick velvety skin in body folds and creases. It typically affects the armpits, groin and neck. Acanthosis nigricans tends to affect people with obesity ).
- If we have low HDL ( good) cholesterol level and high blood triglycerides , we can have insulin resistance as these two are strongly associated with this type of health condition.
Symptoms of the health condition.
- High blood sugar levels and high insulin level are basic symptoms of this health condition.
- Excess belly fat , high blood triglycerides and low HDL (good) cholesterol levels are other symptoms of this condition.
Insulin resistance and other diseases.
Insulin resistance leads to the following very common diseases:
- Metabolic syndrome ======= Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that causes diabetes type 2, heart diseases and other health conditions. It is known as insulin resistance syndrome. High blood pressure, high blood triglycerides, high blood sugar, low HDL cholesterol and excess belly fat are its symptoms.
- Diabetes type 2 ======== When insulin is not used , and is accumulated in blood, the blood glucose level remain high . This condition lead to diabetes type 2.
- Insulin resistance is strongly associated with heart diseases. Beside that it is the main cause of non alcoholic Fatty Liver disease (Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which fat builds up in your liver. Nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are types of NAFLD. If you have NASH, you have inflammation and liver damage, along with fat in your liver ), polycystic ovary syndrome ( PCOS), ( PCOS is a very common hormone problem for women of childbearing age. Women with PCOS may not ovulate, have high levels of androgens, and have many small cysts on the ovaries. PCOS can cause missed or irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth, acne, infertility, and weight gain ), Alzheimer disease and cancer may be linked to insulin resistance. An increased risk of developing depressive disorder is also linked to insulin resistance.
Reduce insulin resistance.
Do you like to reduce your non-used insulin ?. follow these steps:
Lose your belly fat.
- A big belly having lot of fat does not look nice. The belly fat is the main cause of insulin resistance. Try to reduce belly fat with regular .Physical exercise.
- A single way to reduce insulin is the regular physical activity. It will improve your insulin sensitivity keeping you away from diabetes type 2 and heart diseases.
- Reduce sugar intake ===== Reducing sugar intake will help you to reduce excess insulin . Avoid drinking sugar added beverages.
- Quit smoking ======= Quitting smoking will also help you to reduce excess insulin
- Eat a nutritious diet ======= Eating whole unprocessed foods , plenty of nuts and fatty fish will help you to achieve your goal.
- Better sleep ======= A poor sleep can lead to this condition . A better deep sleep will show good result.
- Manage stress ======== According to the researchers, chronic stress may lead to the development of insulin resistance. To reduce stress yoga and meditation may be helpful .
- Fasting ====== Fasting occasionally , say once a month can improve insulin sensitivity
Insulin resistance is the main cause of diabetes type 2 and many other health conditions. This health condition can be reduced by changing life style , diet and regular physical activity. Our lives are a great gift of All-Mighty Allah . We should value that.