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WHY PEOPLE WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES SHOULD AVOID INCREASING THEIR INSULIN


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Men and women with diabetes are usually instructed by their doctors to try to use the lowest dose of insulin possible to manage their blood sugars. Using too much insulin can be dangerous for a number of reasons.

First, injecting too much insulin can cause blood sugar levels to become too low, a condition known as hypoglycemia. The symptoms of hypoglycemia include faintness, shakiness, hunger, perspiration, and can even lead to confusion, seizures, coma and death. To read more about the risks of hypoglycemia, see our article "Diabetes and Hypoglycemia."

There is ample research proving the detrimental effects of having too much insulin in the body, whether it is caused by excessive endogenous production (i.e., the pancreas secretes too much insulin), or by the hormonal imbalance called Insulin Resistance or because of too much injected insulin.

Woman resting her head on a man's chest.One should avoid overuse of insulin because it is lipogenic. In other words, insulin promotes the formation of fat.

In addition, hyperinsulinemia - having too much insulin in the blood - is associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's Disease, the cognitive decline that affects memory. (1) Furthermore, hyperinsulinemia is associated with the vascular complications of diabetes including atherosclerosis (2). Long-term treatment with insulin causes vascular damage by promoting deposits of lipid-laden materials in the arterial walls. Insulin can also lead to thickening of the arterial walls. (3)

In persons with type 2 diabetes, inflammation is also linked to the development of artery damage called atherosclerosis.

Inflammation is the body's defensive response to harmful stimuli, which in the case of diabetes, are thought to be elevated levels of insulin - a classic symptom of Insulin Resistance, which causes an imbalance of glucose and insulin levels.

Inflammation can range from an external example like the reddened skin around a splinter in your finger to a complex internal process in response to a harmful condition like high blood pressure, which is closely linked to diabetes.

If neglected over the years, internal inflammation from a condition like high blood pressure can cause major damage to your arteries, resulting in serious other disorders like the cluster of increased risk factors for cardiovascular disease called Metabolic Syndrome (Syndrome X).

The medical profession is still studying and evaluating the role of inflammation. To learn more, click on Inflammation, Insulin Resistance and Diabetes.

Overuse or prolonged use of insulin caused by the cells becoming less sensitive to insulin can lead to Insulin Resistance. This results in either the body overcompensating by secreting more insulin or a person having to continually inject more insulin, which can lead to severe complications like the need for amputation, failing eyesight and kidney diseases.

(1) Hyperinsulinemia and risk of Alzheimer disease. Luchsinger JA, Tang MX, Shea S, Mayeux R., Neurology. 2004 Oct 12;63(7):1187-92.

(2) Hyperinsulinemia enhances transcriptional activity of nuclear factor-kappaB induced by angiotensin II, hyperglycemia, and advanced glycosylation end products in vascular smooth muscle cells. Golovchenko I, Goalstone ML, Watson P, Brownlee M, Draznin B. Circ Res. 2000 Oct 27;87(9):746-52

http://www.uchsc.edu/sm/deptmed/ResearchSyllabus/goalstone.htm

Insulin potentiates platelet-derived growth factor action in vascular smooth muscle cells. Goalstone ML, Natarajan R, Standley PR, Walsh MF, Leitner JW, Carel K, Scott S, Nadler J, Sowers JR, Draznin B. Endocrinology. 1998 Oct;139(10):4067-72.

Effects of insulin on prenylation as a mechanism of potentially detrimental influence of hyperinsulinemia., Draznin B, Miles P, Kruszynska Y, Olefsky J, Friedman J, Golovchenko I, Stjernholm R, Wall K, Reitman M, Accili D, Cooksey R, McClain D, Goalstone M., Endocrinology. 2000 Apr;141(4):1310-6.

Hyperinsulinemia and cardiovascular risk., Brunelli, C, Spallarossa P, Cordera R, Caponnetto S., Cardiologia. 1994 Dec;39(12 Suppl 1):163-8.

(3) Insulin and atheroma: a 20-year perspective. Stout RW., Diabetes Care. 1990 Jun;13(6):631-54.

 

 

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