After we eat, any extra glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids in the blood stream are picked up by our fat cells, and converted to fat. That’s how we build our reserve fuel supply. Once we are past childhood, our body doesn’t make many more fat cells. The new fat molecules are crowded into existing fat cells, making them larger.
Overnight, when no food is consumed, blood sugar drops to its lowest point about 70 to 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). After a meal, blood sugar rises, normally reaching no higher than 140 mg/dl; as the meal is digested, it falls again. Fasting blood sugar under 100 mg/dl is generally considered normal (but not optimal); 126 mg/dl or higher can mean diabetes. Levels between 100 mg/dl and 126 mg/dl can mean pre-diabetes.
Blood sugar testing should be part of regular medical checkups for everyone who is over forty-five and for everyone over age ten who has two or more risk factors for diabetes. Risk factors include being overweight; having a family history of diabetes; showing signs of insulin resistance, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or other abnormal blood fats; or being a member of an ethnic or racial minority known to have above-average risk (for example, African Americans, Hispanics and Latin Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders).
Insulin helps liberate fatty acids from food. Because more fatty acids are available, there’s more for fat cells to store. In addition, insulin inhibits the release of stored fat by the fat cells. These effects mean that people who are insulin-resistant – and who therefore have excess insulin circulating in their bloodstream – have an increased tendency to store fat and gain weight. When fat cells are overstuffed, our body chemistry can go awry, leading to diabetes and other serious problems.
When someone is insulin resistant, the beta cells in their pancreas produce plenty of insulin but the cells throughout their body don’t respond normally to it. To maintain homeostasis, the pancreas makes more and more insulin. This works temporarily: the extra insulin compensates from the cells insensitivity, so blood sugar remains normal.
Over time, the beta cells become exhausted and can no longer sustain their abnormally high insulin production rate.
More than 41 million Americans have “pre-diabetes.” Most of them don’t know it! One measurement is fasting blood sugar. When it is elevated but not high enough to be considered diabetic: This is usually between 100 and 125 mg/dl after an overnight fast. Insulin levels are another critical measurement.
Lifestyle changes can prevent type 2 diabetes, even in people who are already in the beginning stages. This includes proper eating and moderate but consistent exercise.
NBH Lifetime Health offers tests for diabetes and designs individualized programs that effectively assist in the prevention and treatment of type II diabetes.
If you have any questions about these hormones or about diabetes, please email your question or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By NBH, Director of Education & Research
NBH Lifetime Health Weight Loss & Hormone Clinics, Medline South