What Is Insulin Resistance?

What is insulin resistance?

Many of you already know because you have had the diagnosis. Considered to be a precursor to Type II Diabetes, insulin resistance means that the cells of your body that need insulin in order to ingest glucose are not allowing that insulin to do its job. On a blood test, the insulin level will test normal to high, and so will the glucose – because it can’t get into the cells. You crave more sugar/carbs because your cells are sending signals to your brain that they need more, so the brain tells the pancreas to make more insulin. Your cells are “starving in a sea of plenty.”

How did this all start? Stress of all kinds causes your body to produce more cortisol, and cortisol raises your blood sugar. Elevated blood sugar causes more insulin to be produced in order to allow the glucose into the cells. (Insulin plugs into receptors on the outside of the cells much like a keycard at a door, allowing the glucose to enter.) When the cells have had all the glucose they need – over and over again – they eventually “downregulate” the receptor so it doesn’t work as well, or not at all. This downregulation is the insulin resistance.

Some examples of the stresses that feed into this problem are: toxins, allergies, chronic infections, poor nutrition, not enough sleep, relationship issues, PTSD, overdoing anything including good things, and just plain living in a too much and too fast society.

What can we do? First of all, take time to evaluate where your stresses are coming from, and rate them. It’s not going to do much good to ignore the elephant in the living room and just work on the little things. Identify your elephant(s), and start leading them out of your house. If diet is your biggest pachyderm, that’s where you need to start. If it’s doing too much for too many because you can’t say “no” to anyone, that’s where you start.

Second, don’t try to do this alone. If you are on the cusp of diabetes, there is no time to waste. You need support from people who will hold you accountable for the steps you need to take to turn this around. Studies have shown that support groups, especially small groups, are immensely helpful in making and sustaining lifestyle changes.

Third, get professional help as needed, and keep going to the support group.

Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, etc. Keep going to the support group!

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