DIABETES AND INSULIN
Facts You Need to Know
Virtually everyone with an even a micron of knowledge about Diabetes is familiar with “Insulin.” However, it just might be one of those things that while everyone knows about it, they don’t really know about it! As a result, we have decided that it might be a good idea to discuss Insulin in more than just a cursory over-view.
To begin with, it is imperative that we know that Insulin is the “key” that allows glucose to enter your body cells. Its next task is to assist in your body in making energy out of the glucose. Finally, it also helps you to store that energy.
The main source of Insulin is the Pancreas. In Type 1 Diabetes the Pancreas no longer produces Insulin, while in Type 2 Diabetes the Pancreas provides the Insulin, but your body cells are no longer able to make good use of the Insulin. This is referred to as “Insulin Resistance.” When our Diabetes is unmanaged, glucose builds up in the blood rather than being distributed to our cells or being properly stored. This can lead to complications that may result in stomach problems, kidney disease, eye problems, nerve damage and even issues with our heart.
There are various types of Insulin, and each has distinct characteristics:
Long-Acting: Starts working within a few
hours; works up to 24 hours.
Intermediate-Acting: Begins to work in in
2-4 hours; effective for up to 18 hours.
Short-Acting: Enters the bloodstream in 30
minutes, good for up to 6 hours.
Rapid-Acting: In the bloodstream in 15
minutes; keeps working for up to 4 hours.
The impact of Insulin is recognized when we realize that without it, cells must seek alternative sources for energy. As mentioned, one of the tasks of the Insulin is to assist muscle and fat cells store extra glucose so it doesn’t overwhelm your bloodstream.
A somewhat intricate part of the Insulin task is that in helping your cells use glucose for energy it prevents the dangerous buildup of chemicals known as Ketones. The body eliminates these Ketones via our urine, but isn’t always successful in doing so. When the urine can’t keep up, we experience Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), which can be life threatening. Symptoms for this particular condition include dry mouth, nausea, sweet-smelling breath and vomiting!
As mentioned earlier, when our cells stop responding to Insulin in the way they should we have a situation known as “Insulin Resistance.” It results in high Insulin levels in the blood, which is referred to as “Hyperinsulinemia.” It is this condition that leads to a rise in Blood Sugar levels.
One of the main contributors to Insulin Resistance is increased levels of fat in the blood. This is perpetrated by ingesting too many calories and carrying excess body fat. It is not surprising, then, that obesity is linked to Insulin Resistance. Other things that might add to Insulin Resistance include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Gut Microbiota: Disruption in the Bacterial Environment in the Gut.
- Inflammation: Throughout the body.
- Fructose: From “added sugar” and fruit.
- Inactivity: Activity increases Insulin Sensitivity.
The good news is that one need not worry that Insulin Resistance is an enemy that can’t be fought against. In fact, there are a number of ways to reduce Insulin Resistance, and all it takes are a few minor Life Style adjustments. These include, but are not limited to:
- Exercise – Even Moderately!
- Stop Smoking
- Reduce Sugar Intake
- Get a proper amount of Sleep
- Eat Well
- Reduce Stress
- Donate Blood – Helps with the reduction of iron, and improves Insulin Sensitivity!
As you will note, it is generally accepted that these Life Style adjustments are associated with a long, healthy and productive life!
As you can see, Insulin is an important element in the well-being of us all, and is especially important to a Diabetic. Hopefully, with this little deeper insight into its importance, you will be encouraged to pursue the Life Style changes that will help you live a long, healthy and productive life!!!
If you, or someone you know, needs help in managing their Diabetes, please call AVEON HEALTH at 480-300-4663 to make an appointment with a member of our staff and allow them to escort you down the path to an improved quality of life for you and your loved ones!
This Blog was written, in part, with information gleaned from the following sources: