Among other things, insulin mediates the absorption of sugar (glucose) from the blood into the cells of the body. Thus, the hormone makes a decisive contribution to the regulation of blood sugar levels by lowering blood sugar. If the cells are no longer sufficiently sensitive to insulin, that is, if they are insulin-resistant, less sugar from the blood enters the body’s cells. The sugar instead remains in the blood circulation and the blood sugar level rises. In the long term, this can develop into type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance is often inherited. However, type 2 diabetes usually only develops when an inactive lifestyle with lack of exercise, malnutrition and / or abdominal obesity is added.
How does insulin resistance develop?
The mechanisms that lead to insulin resistance have not yet been fully elucidated.
The hormone insulin binds to cells in the body, for example in the muscles, adipose tissue and liver, and sends signals with instructions there. An example is the signal for the absorption of sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream into the cell. The sugar is needed in the cell to extract energy from it. Muscle cells, for example, use sugar as an energy supplier in order to be able to perform muscle movements.
If the effectiveness of the hormone insulin is limited, doctors speak of insulin resistance or insulin insensitivity. Insulin plays an important role in sugar metabolism. It docks to receptors on the surface of the body’s cells and promotes the absorption of glucose (glucose) from the blood into the cells. As a result, the blood sugar level decreases.
Insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes
With insulin resistance, the cells respond worse to the hormone, so that they absorb too little sugar. The blood sugar level rises, ultimately type 2 diabetes can develop.
The biochemical processes that lead to insulin resistance have not yet been finally clarified. Hereditary factors, obesity, especially in the form of abdominal fat, as well as lack of exercise can favor the development of type 2 diabetes. The reduction of overweight and a lot of exercise are therefore among the most important measures to prevent diabetes. In this way, it is often possible to improve the glucose levels of an already existing type 2 diabetes.
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