Insulin Resistance – #4 of the Deadly Quartet

Insulin Resistance - #4 of the Deadly Quartet

The main problem of type 2 diabetes is not the lack of insulin – on the contrary, the body initially produces more insulin, but insulin resistance. In addition to disturbed insulin secretion, the motor drives the disease further and further. Research in recent years has shown this to be the case. Since type 2 diabetes rarely causes symptoms at the beginning, the disease usually becomes accidental, e.g. B. discovered during a routine examination. The precursor to this metabolic disease is insulin resistance. It is the actual critical problem of type 2 diabetes and can be congenital but also acquired.

What is happening in the body?

For the glucose (glucose) to get into the cells, insulin is always needed; it unlocks the cell for the glucose. Insulin is produced in the B cells of the pancreas. If insulin resistance is present, the insulin can no longer appropriately develop its effect on muscle, fat and liver cells – glucose can no longer get into the cells in sufficient quantities. The pancreas tries to compensate for the insulin resistance by secreting more insulin. This is also possible at first, so the blood sugar level remains normal for now.

A fasting blood sugar in the normal range still characterizes the second stage of the disease. However, the B cells produce at the edge of their capacity. Day-dependent blood sugar peaks, such as after meals, can no longer be intercepted with the amount of insulin produced. This is then referred to as “impaired glucose tolerance”.

In the third stage, after a few years of insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance, type 2 diabetes is easy to diagnose. Now, the fasting blood sugar levels are also consistently above the norm. This is caused by either a further increase in insulin resistance or reduced insulin production due to depletion of the B cells in the pancreas.


So, insulin resistance means

  • Restricted sensitivity of body cells to insulin
  • Insulin can no longer work properly on the cells
  • Insulin resistance usually precedes the diagnosis of diabetes by years.

Danger to vessels

The development of arteriosclerotic vascular changes begins as early as the presence of insulin resistance, which in the further course can lead to severe diseases such as B. heart attack, stroke, kidney failure or blindness. In about half of all newly diagnosed diabetics, organ damage can already be detected. Conversely, insulin resistance usually exists many years before the onset of type 2 diabetes!


The “Deadly Quartet”

Insulin resistance develops when there is a genetic disposition on the one hand and external factors on the other. Being overweight ( obesity ) plays the leading role here – no other disease is so closely associated with type 2 diabetes!

If there are other risk factors in addition to insulin resistance, obesity and lack of exercise, the probability of developing diabetes in the course of one’s life increases further. High blood pressure or a lipid metabolism disorder leads to an additional increase in risk. To detect diabetes mellitus as early as possible, everyone over 40 should have their blood sugar measured every two years. By the way, If a family member already has diabetes, there is a significantly higher risk of also developing it.

Recognized early – better under control

Diabetes mellitus is an actual widespread disease. After all, it is assumed that 5 million people are affected – but the number of unreported cases is much higher. Unfortunately, type 2 diabetics are often diagnosed late (on average after five years) and somewhat accidentally. Consequential damage is inevitable and is not treated consistently enough. However, an early diagnosis is essential for preventing possible secondary diseases since the dangerous secondary damage can significantly reduce the quality of life of those affected. It is all the more important to recognize diabetes mellitus and its preliminary stage, insulin resistance, at an early stage and to counteract it in a more targeted manner.

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