Are you taking care of your physical self during this COVID-19 challenging time? How is your eating and mindset? I am going to write about diabetes and insulin resistance today because it is a fundamental part of keeping healthy.
Do you know anyone who has diabetes? Are you concerned you will get diabetes? Do you fear getting diabetes?
You have heard about all the consequences of diabetes? That you can lose your eyesight, have toes and/or foot amputated, have a heart attack, and/or get dementia.
Diabetes might not even be on your radar until your doctor at your physical says, “Oh, by the way, you have diabetes. You need to take these pills. You might have to take insulin if the pills don’t work.”
I have heard this story over and over again from friends, family and many, many patients over the years. And you know the worst thing about it? It is preventable! Yes, you don’t have to get it!
Before you get diabetes you get pre-diabetes. Before you get pre-diabetes you get insulin resistance. Before you get insulin resistance you get elevated blood glucose. And as you know, elevated blood glucose creates inflammation and your immune system working overtime.
Elevated glucose, insulin resistance, pre-diabetes as well as diabetes may feel like anxiety. As your blood sugar changes up and down you experience anxiety.
When I evaluate people I check their labs for glucose levels over the past 3 months(hemoglobin A1C) as well as their fasting glucose level and fasting insulin levels, which are snapshots of one day. Now, this is not the only way to check for insulin resistance it is the way I check for insulin resistance most typically. A glucose tolerance test, which most women do during their pregnancy, would be the next most common lab I do to assess insulin resistance.
So elevated glucose levels for too long keep prompting insulin to be secreted from the pancreas. The insulin prompts cells to utilize the extra glucose. When it is elevated for too long the cells no longer respond as quickly and they become resistant to the higher insulin levels. Elevated insulin levels cause many other symptoms and eventually the pancreas gives up from secreting insulin.
It is kind of like when you are trying to train your dog and you say “sit” your dog looks the other way or does anything other than sit. You end up repeating “sit” so many times, varying your tone and volume. “Sit. sit…sit…….SIT!!!” Dog trainers tell you to say it only once. The dog, like many a teenager, isn’t listening. The dog doesn’t think you mean it.
So, next time you are at your physician’s office (or look up your old labs) ask for you fasting insulin level (ideal <7), your fasting glucose level (ideal is,85) and your hemoglobin A1C(ideal is <5.2) See where you are on the spectrum of optimal insulin sensitivity to insulin resistance to diabetes.
Take Care and Stay Social Distancing!
P.S. If you do not want to wait until you see your physician you can order your own labs like my fundamental basic lab panel.
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Dr. Laurie Goldman is a medical doctor, psychiatrist, and functional medicine practitioner who’s been in private practice since 1999. She founded Clear Path Wellness to help her patients reach their maximum state of mental and physical health using a personalized, comprehensive approach powered by the principles of functional medicine, which treats the whole person, not just symptoms.