Insulin and Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes

I’ve been interested in insulin, blood sugar and diabetes for years.  Watching the increase in cases over the years and how it has impacted my clients is why I decided, years ago, to learn more about this horrible disease.  Diabetes is linked to and is usually a precursor to high blood pressure and cholesterol leading, then, to heart disease.  It’s also, most of the time, preventable.  My education at the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute has provided much of the information in this article.

Insulin, the wellness hormone, is secreted by a group of specialized cells in the pancreas.  Insulin’s main job is to keep blood sugar at optimal levels as your energy levels constantly change.  When insulin levels are too high, too low or out of sync with the body’s needs, the whole body is thrown out of biochemical balance.

Cells need carbs.  I find this an interesting way to explain how the insulin   1. Learns it needs to be released and 2. What happens when too much is released.  When carbs from food are absorbed from the intestines into the bloodstream, the blood sugar level rises, which triggers the release of insulin.  Insulin then travels to the cells, where it opens the receptors, or “doors”, on the cell membranes so the sugar can enter the cell as fuel.  If there are too many carbs, and then too much insulin arrives in response, the cells resist as insulin attempts to open the “doors’.  The carbs just figure they’ll go somewhere else until they’re needed.  That “somewhere else”  is usually the belly and the liver.

Now, let’s look at what happens when this continues.  When the excess carbs and excess insulin keep storming the “doors” of the cells repeatedly, the receptors eventually become more resistant = insulin resistance (Type 2 diabetes).  Then when normal amounts of insulin can’t open the “doors” but the body needs insulin, then higher and higher insulin levels are needed (because no insulin is getting :in”).  A chronically high insulin level results, which over time can cause the insulin-producing areas in the pancreas to wear out, resulting in Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes.

Now, let’s look at the on-going consequences of diabetes.

Source:  Statistics of the State of South Carolina   CDC  2017:

Deaths due to diabetes: 1535  State rank:  12

Source:  2017    South Carolina DHEC

Diabetes ranks the 5th highest in country among adults. One in seven adults has diabetes, or approximately 500,000 adults in South Carolina

Diabetes and heart disease are related.  Quite often, diabetes is a precursor to heart disease because a large number of people with diabetes are also overweight.   Being overweight creates a situation where the blood vessels have to work harder delivering nutrients, that are in the blood, to organs and tissues.  Working harder creates wear and tear on these blood vessels resulting in a weakened cardiovascular system.  This results in heart disease.

Source:   CDC 2020 diabetes and  heart.

Jan 31, 2020 · Diabetes and heart disease often go hand in hand. Learn how to protect your heart with simple lifestyle changes that can also help you manage diabetes. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. If you have diabetes, you’re twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke than someone who doesn’t have diabetes—and at a younger age. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to have heart disease.

It’s amazing but true: simple lifestyle changes can have dramatic affects on reducing the risk of developing both diabetes and heart disease.  Following a diet rich in phytonutrients – fruits, vegetables and other plant foods – foods that promote health and following simple movement / exercise programs and guidelines can provide prevention and protection from these diseases.  I have seen these changes occur repeatedly in the 25+ years I’ve been mentoring, training and coaching clients.  It’s amazingly rewarding to watch a person turn their health and life around by implementing and executing a plan.