Fending Off Type 2
By andre W
Insulin resistance is a surprisingly common condition that occurs
when your body produces insulin but your cells don’t respond properly.
insulin resistance may not automatically lead to type 2 diabetes, but it
is one of the most significant risk factors.
here’s why: insulin is a hormone that sends a signal to the cells in your muscles
and liver that they should absorb glucose, or sugar, a fuel source that circulates in
the bloodstream. When that signal is ignored, the body’s insulin producers—beta
cells—have to work harder and harder, overproducing insulin to get the job done.
that kind of overproduction is good enough, for a while. “as long as you can
push out enough insulin to get the muscle and liver to respond, your blood sugar
will be fine, but the high insulin levels will cause the liver to produce fat, which can
lead to high plasma triglycerides and fatty liver,” says kitt falk petersen, md, a
researcher at yale university’s school of medicine. “and you stress the beta cells,
which wear out over time.” By the time most people are diagnosed with type 2
diabetes, they have already lost some of their ability to make insulin.
petersen’s research, supported in part by the american diabetes association,
focuses on the causes of insulin resistance. she’s particularly interested in
something no one can control: aging. there is a statistical spike in type 2 diabetes
cases that takes place after the age of 65.
it turns out that aging and insulin resistance are closely connected, just as
Kitt Falk Petersen, MD
Department of Internal
Medicine, Section of
University School of
ADA research funding