Police Psychology | What the Heck is “Insulin Resistance”?
by Doug Gentz, Ph.D. – Psychological Services
- A specific form of Receptor Site Resistance
- The condition that immediately precedes a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes
- A condition that used to show up mostly in old people and is now appearing in teenagers
- A condition, which like most addictions, causes the development of a higher and higher “tolerance” for a given substance – in this case a person’s own insulin.
- All of the above
Every cell in a person’s body requires two things: Glucose which is the fuel and O2, which is required to burn it. O2 gets to each cell via red blood cells, glucose gets inside each cell only with an insulin escort. The insulin molecules are provided by the pancreas which is signaled to release insulin into the bloodstream any time there is the slightest rise in the blood glucose (sugar) level (above approximately 100 mg per deciliter of blood). The insulin molecules “unlock” the portal thru which the glucose enters the cell by engaging special insulin receptor sites on the cell wall.
The pancreas is a very dedicated organ and will always release insulin into the bloodstream when asked by the presence of slightly elevated glucose levels. If,over time there is a constant presence of insulin circulating in the blood, then cells, especially fat cells, will begin to lose receptor sites. Just as in any addiction, insulin receptor site resistance is the
technical way to say that the cells have developed a “tolerance” to insulin. A vicious cycle is established: more insulin leads to fewer receptor sites, fewer receptor sites leads to a higher need for insulin. As this cycle continues over time, the pancreas loses its ability to continue to make enough insulin and the person receives a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes – now insulin will need to be injected.
The best early intervention against this “insulin addiction” problem is to limit the intake of the precursor to glucose – carbohydrates, especially simple (or high glycemic carbohydrates). Reducing high glycemic carbohydrate intake while increasing aerobic exercise is the very best way to beat the Insulin Resistance problem.
Blog Administrator: Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP
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