Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes

What is Insulin Resistance?

There is no doubt that the level of type 2 diabetes  has been increasing over the past 25 years or so.  This situation, as it now stands is emerging as the number one burden for our healthcare system cost-wise financially, as well as, the declining health of the people of our nation. Type 2 diabetes  leads to heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes and systemic cardiovascular disease. 

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the normal levels of insulin are no longer adequate to move glucose into the cells.  For various reasons the cells become resistant to the effects of insulin.  In order to compensate, the beta cells of the pancreas increase the output of insulin in order to plus glucose into the cells and maintain normal blood glucose.

Initially, there are no outward signs of insulin resistance, but with time various metabolic adverse effects develop.  Excess calories become converted to fat, typically accumulating in the abdomen producing the classic "apple shape".  High levels of insulin can haveadverse effects on the liver, which increases cholesterol levels.. The high levelsof insulin can cause increased levels of general inflammation.  All these factors  can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and systemic cardiovascular disease.

There appears to be a correlation and progression with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome leading to pre-diabetes and eventually type 2 diabetes.  On the good side, progression can be interrupted and totally reversed by lifestyle changes. Weight loss reduces insulin resistance simply by decreasing the amount of of  high carbohydrate foods and unhealthy fatty foods.

Environmental Factors

At first glance this exponential increase would appear solely related to poor diet selection and sedentary lifestyle.  However, fairly recent research has been demonstrating that environmental factors are also driving this increase. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) have been an unseen part of what all of us h ave been exposed to throughout most of our lifetime.POPs include organochlorine pesticides, dioxins, furalan, PCBs and Bisphenol A, among others.  None of us have been able to avoid exposures to these substances completely.

BPA is used to make certain plastics and epoxy resins used in a variety of common consumer goods.  This includes water and baby bottles, sports equipment, CDs and DVDs,the lining of food and beverage cans and thermal paper used in sales receipts.  Exposures are mostly through food, but is absorbed through the skin or inhaled in dust.

Animal studies have demonstrated exposures to POPs and BPA can induce diabetes and obesity. Human studies link higher levels of urinary BPA with an increase in diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Journal of the American Medical Association volume 300 No.  11, September 17, 2008.

If you want to prevent exposure to BPA:

Treatment

The previously recommended low-fat-high carbohydrate diet actually worsens insulin resistance. Instead follow a moderately lower carbohydrate diet, focusing on low glycemic foods that are high in fiber. Eat at least 5 servings of non-starchy vegetables daily; try using vegetables with different colors. Have 1-2 servings of low glycemic fruits such as grapefruit, blueberries, cherries. A serving is only one half cup. Choose healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, avocados. Eat cold water fish such as wild Alaska salmon, sardines twice a week.

Exercise is essential to help reverse the adverse effects of insulin resistance. Walking 30 minutes 5 days a week would be good. Vigorous exercise 30-45 minutes 4-5 days a week would be even better.

New Technological Leap Forward!

A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed marked improvement in several functions in a group of type 2 diabetic patients.  The randomized controlled study was designed to evaluate the effects of External Enhanced Counterpulsation EECP on fasting glucose and insulin levels, glucose tolerance, arterial function and capillary density in patients with abnormal glucose control.

The results were quite remarkable.  The authors demonstrated that EECP therapy (35 sessions) did the following:

The author's conclusion-"Our findings provide novel evidence that EECP has a beneficial effect on peripheral arterial function and glucose tolerance in subjects with abnormal glucose tolerance".  All these remarkable changes occurred without changing diet, medication or level of exercise!

The improvements appear to be as good as, if not better than medication, exercise or diet by themselves. Until now medication, diet and exercise have been the only treatments available for type 2 diabetes, but now there is another  proven and effective option that is completely risk  and drug-free.  The researchers who designed and published this study are to be congratulated not only for excellence of this well-done study, but for their highly innovative and breakthrough thinking as to the potential uses of EECP.  The basic function of EECP is to deliver blood, oxygen and nutrients to every cell and organ in the body, which in this case positively impacted the pancreas, vascular system and insulin receptors among others.

Since EECP also is able to improve exercise tolerance it is the ideal treatment for the type 2 diabetic, who can't exercise or simply out of shape.  EECP would not only be effective as of treatment, but would serve as  a  "jumpstart" to motivate sedentary patients to begin an exercise program with less pain and discomfort.

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