What is Insulin Sensitivity?
Insulin sensitivity tells us about the sensitivity of the body to the function of insulin. The better the sensitivity, the better insulin can function; therefore, a person with improved sensitivity needs less insulin than a person with a lower sensitivity to move blood glucose into the cells of the body and reduce the levels of blood sugar.
Different people have different levels of insulin sensitivity. There are tests used by doctors to find out the level of sensitivity to insulin in a person.
What are the effects of insulin sensitivity on diabetics?
People who have less insulin sensitivity, another name for insulin resistance, need more insulin to be released by their pancreas or, if that is not possible, get insulin through injections in order to stabilize their blood sugar levels.
Insulin resistance brings problems to sugar metabolism in your body and it can lead to other health conditions like high cholesterol levels and hypertension.
However, too high insulin sensitivity can also bring problems to type 1 diabetics, especially children.
Why Insulin Sensitivity is Important?
Various type of health conditions can be caused by insulin resistance. The body responds to insulin resistance with greater insulin production.
Unfortunately, when the amount of insulin in the bloodstream is excessive, you have hyperinsulinemia which has been linked to cancer, osteoporosis, obesity, heart failure, heart disease, hypertension and blood vessel damage.
Prolonged sickness and stress can result in short periods of insulin resistance. Usually, insulin resistance goes away when there is recovery from sickness and stress.
Diabetes: Understanding Insulin Resistance – Video Guide
Does high insulin sensitivity bring problems?
Normally, good insulin sensitivity is an indication of excellent health but sometimes greater sensitivity can bring health problems.
Type 1 diabetics, for instance, have more chances of getting hypoglycemia if their insulin sensitivity increases. If a diabetic is especially insulin sensitive, the possibility of getting hypoglycemia is lowered with the use of insulin pens that can provide half units.
Talk to your diabetes specialist nurse or doctor if you think an insulin pen which can give half units is necessary.
Exercise can improve the sensitivity of insulin and lead to a greater possibility of getting hypoglycemia among diabetics who use medications, including insulin, which can cause hypoglycemia. Be aware that the greater chance of having hypoglycemia remains for as long as 48 hours since the improved sensitivity of insulin due to exercise lasts this length of time.
What causes insulin resistance amongst diabetics?
Insulin resistance is linked to type 2 diabetes although it may happen to people with type 1 diabetes too. When type 1 diabetics get low sensitivity to insulin, these diabetics are considered to be having double diabetes.
Actually, researchers have not understood completely the reasons for insulin resistance. However, they did find a strong connection between excessive visceral fat, which is fat enveloping the organs, and insulin resistance.
How can insulin sensitivity be increased or reduced?
Changing lifestyle can improve your insulin sensitivity. Changes have to include the foods you eat and exercise. Especially important is exercise as its effect on insulin sensitivity is very strong.
Any kind of physical activity can be used to get your insulin to be more sensitive. Having resistance training as well as aerobic exercises has been found to improve insulin sensitivity enormously.
What other ways can be used to improve insulin sensitivity?
Other than exercises, reducing extra body weight can increase sensitivity to insulin.
When it comes to foods, those with more fiber, as well as a lower glycemic load and GI can increase sensitivity to insulin.
Reducing stress, and getting enough sleep are also able to help to give you better insulin sensitivity.
The benefits of increased insulin sensitivity?
How well your insulin functions can make a lot of difference. Insulin sensitivity can bring many health benefits.
For example, if you need insulin every day, an improvement in the sensitivity of your insulin can mean a lesser amount of insulin required. Many type 2 diabetics have found that their need for insulin has gone down or a lower dose is sufficient when insulin sensitivity improves through the loss of weight.
Having better insulin sensitivity is good for both diabetes control and general health.