Another peculiar phrase, with which I have had to familiarise myself in my search for knowledge about type 2 diabetes, is insulin resistance.
Insulin is a hormone, a very important hormone as it turns out. In short: it forces our body’s cells to absorb glucose from the blood.
The glucose is stored in the liver and muscle as glycogen and stops the body from using fat as a source of energy.
Instead of me wittering on, with my dearth of ‘scientific nouse’, here’s a YouTube video which better explains the process – and it has colourful graphics:
Symptoms of insulin resistance
One of the earliest and most noticeable symptoms of insulin resistance is gaining weight around the midriff. Other symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating (brain fog)
- High blood pressure is another common symptom which is caused by high circulating levels of insulin in the blood
Insulin resistance can develop into prediabetes; if it does, the symptoms will include raised blood glucose levels which means a person will show more of the common symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes.
Causes of Insulin resistance
The most popular cause — and a subject that seems to be on everyone’s lips at the moment — is obesity. It’s a populist theory, but, it’s not the full story as far as I’m concerned.
According to MedicineNet.com there are a number of possible causes for the condition: genetic factors play a significant part; moreover, some medications can be to blame; and, furthermore, insulin resistance can be accompanied by the following:
- metabolic syndrome
- infection or severe illness
- whilst using steroids
Insulin resistance: does that mean you are fat and lazy?
Everyone these days seems to know about the obesity theory in relation to type 2 diabetes. You can’t open a newspaper without someone talking about diabetics being ‘fat and lazy’.
But I would guess that not many people would know about the above list of things that can accompany insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes); although I did suspect that being overweight wasn’t the full story, I didn’t know until now about the full range of issues and likely causes of the condition.
Looking at the above list just confirms for me, the complex interactions that are possibly at play with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
It’s easy to say to someone who is overweight: ‘you eat too much and you are lazy’. The temptation is to over simplify the situation and tell people to stop eating so much and take some exercise. But examining the above list tells me that would be less than helpful.
We all know that if you eat too much of the ‘wrong food’ and don’t exercise that you are likely to put on weight. However, it’s also known that people who take prescribed steroids also put on weight.
And, some women who are pregnant put on large amounts of weight; likewise, some people that become chronically ill with a whole range of things can suffer an increase in their body fat; and, chronic stress can also be a factor in weight gain — due to the presence of an excessive amount of cortisol in the blood.
In these circumstances there is more than a good chance that a person may be, insulin resistant; may be prediabetic; or even may have type 2 diabetes. My question is this: do people end up with these conditions because they are overweight or is it possible that people become overweight because they have these conditions but remain undiagnosed?