Sunday, July 19, 2009

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Insulin Resistance and Diabetes

Insulin resistance can lead to diabetes later in life. One of the actions of insulin is to cause the cells of the body, particularly the muscle and fat cells, to remove and use glucose from the blood. This is one way in which insulin controls the level of glucose in blood.

In diabetics glucose levels are not under control and can reach levels of 250 mg/dL or higher. Patients with type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes produce little or no insulin because the beta-cells in the pancreas, which normally produce the hormone, have been destroyed. Patients with type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes, on the other hand, usually produce an adequate amount of insulin, but for some reason the mechanism whereby the insulin summons the GLUT-4 transporters does not function. The result is that both glucose and insulin levels in the blood remain high. The same problem is experienced by persons with insulin resistance, but to a lesser degree.

Without insulin from the pancreas to control it, blood sugar levels rise. Uncontrolled high blood sugar levels (diabetes) cause significant damage to essentially all of the body’s organs but especially the heart, blood vessels, liver, eyes, and kidneys. Heart disease and blood vessel damage caused by Type II diabetes are the common killers of Americans today.

Insulin resistance can be considered prediabetes. In fact, studies reveal that diabetes is in the making seven years before it can be clinically diagnosed by high blood sugar levels. This means that if insulin resistance symptoms were recognized and managed early enough, most Type II diabetes could be prevented.

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