You’ve probably heard the terms “insulin resistant” and “insulin resistance” tossed around, but do you really understand what they mean? It’s important to sort out all this business about insulin in the human body because if you have resistance and don’t fix it, you’re traveling headlong down a road with curves marked “danger” and a stop sign called “diabetes.”
Insulin resistance explained
Everybody has a certain amount of glucose (blood sugar) in their bloodstream. The amount depends on your particular genetic makeup, but it also depends on how much and what you eat. After a meal, glucose levels rise. Your pancreas pays attention to how much glucose is in your system, and it releases a hormone into your blood called insulin to process it.
As your blood travels around the body, insulin helps cells receive glucose, removing it from the blood. Cells can then use glucose to produce energy.
Why resistance is a bad thing
When insulin can’t do its job and cells become resistant, here’s what happens: more and more insulin is needed, but the pancreas can’t keep up with the need. The result: blood glucose levels remain high. At a certain level, you’ve got prediabetes; when they rise even higher, you’ve got Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes puts your feet in danger
Expert podiatrists Heidi M. Christie, DPM and Chanda L. Day-Houts, DPM of Montgomery Foot Care Specialists treat many patients with Type 2 diabetes. Everything that can go wrong with a non-diabetic’s foot becomes even more of a problem for a diabetic. For example:
- Loss of feeling. Diabetics may not even know that their foot hurts because high blood sugar has damaged the nerves in their loser limbs.
- Wounds that don’t heal. High blood sugar compromises blood flow so even a small cut can take a very long time to heal.
- Infectionsset in more easily.
- Dry skinis hard to control, leading to heel cracks that won’t heal.
Ask your primary care doctor about insulin resistance and prediabetes. Have your blood sugar levels checked if the two of you suspect you may be at risk. Make the necessary changes to reverse it before it becomes diabetes. And finally, explore all there is to know about diabetes and your feet at our website, or by contacting us at our office in Montgomery, AL at (334) 396-3668.