Last month I wrote about insulin resistance and spoke about why it is so important to get insulin resistance under control to avoid a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. This month I wanted to tell you about the insulin resistance score. The insulin resistance score (IRS) is a measurement of your insulin resistance.
Although, insulin resistance happens most often in overweight and obese people, not all overweight or obese people are insulin resistant. Similarly, not all people who are insulin resistant are overweight. Actually, fit people who are insulin resistant are more likely at risk of having undiagnosed cardiovascular issues. It's these highly active people, who aren't flagged by medical intervention because they are so healthy looking, that suddenly and shockingly succumb to a major stroke or heart attack.
Assessing your IRS is quite easy. It's not a special test that you need. It can be part of your regular GP check ups.
Remember that up to 17% of the Australian population is considered to have some form of glucose regulation issues, and insulin resistance can be present up to 15 years prior to a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
Cardiovascular disease kills one Australian every 12 minutes
It's really worth getting this assessed!
Insulin resistance and its relative syndrome, Syndrome X or Metabolic Syndrome was first talked about by Professor Gerald Reaven in a lecture he gave at the American Diabetes Association in 1988. Reaven described a cluster of conditions that occured before the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. What Reaven called "the deadly quartet" were four seemingly unrelated health conditions; high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high blood triglycerides (fat in the blood) and low HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Reaven detailed how this cluster of conditions made people more at risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Ok, so what did the medical community do with that information? Well, of course logically, eating low fat would be a great idea -less fat in the diet, the less fat in the blood right? A low fat diet approach was recommended.
And let's get rid of the cholesterol, because cholesterol is bad right?- Hello cholesterol lowering statin drugs!
And we'll put people on blood pressure medication, so that will fix THAT problem.
But the big thing we are missing here, and the main point that Reaven made in his lecture was-
It is the insulin resistance that causes the other three problems!!
Remember that insulin resistance causes high blood pressure by triggering the body to reserve sodium and waste potassium.
Remember that insulin resistance and the over consumption of dietary carbohydrates (not fats) causes the liver to turn excess carbs into triglycerides which are circulated in the blood stream. Remember that when the liver is resitant to insulin it doesn't get the message to stop making triglycerides.
Insulin resistance also affects the liver's glucose production, insulin SHOULD tell the liver to stop making glucose, but insulin resistance stops that message from getting through. So the body requires ever increasing amounts of insulin- some to deal with the glucose that is being made by the liver and some for the incoming dietary carbohydrates.
Remember that insulin resistance stops the body from being able to use stored fat as energy and causes the rise in LDL (bad cholesterol) in the blood.
It is the LDL cholesterol that gets trapped in arteries and causes heart attack and stroke.
There is no effective pharmaceutical treatment for insulin resistance. In other words, your doctor has no pill to treat it. However, that does not mean that insulin resistance can't be fixed!
Insulin Resistance is best treated with diet and exercise
If you want the professional guidance of someone who understands this issue, please don't hesitate to make a booking. Doing something now could save literally save your life.
Melanie Turner, Naturopath, mother, gardener, lover of wholesome food