Those who have Type 2 diabetes are almost always going to know more about the disease than those who do not deal with high or low blood sugar. That being said, no matter which camp you are in, it is unlikely you will ever fully understand the condition. While it is simple to grasp on the surface, in reality, it is a complex disease with many intricacies.
You will not need to know everything about Type 2 diabetes. What you do need to know, however, whether you are a Type 2 diabetic or not, is the difference between insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity. Even if you are only mildly familiar with diabetes, it is unlikely these concepts are completely new to you. But you shouldn’t worry if they are, or if you can’t distinguish between them. They are commonly misunderstood and can be confusing without proper instruction.
Firstly, know while they are separate concepts, there is a relationship connecting them. As you already know, insulin has everything to do with blood sugar. When you eat, insulin is released to signal the uptake of sugar from the bloodstream into cells, where it can be used or stored in the liver or muscles.
Insulin sensitivity is a measure of how much insulin is required by the body to regulate a certain amount of blood sugar. The more sensitive you are to insulin, the better because less is needed to manage a set amount of sugar. If your sensitivity to insulin is low, the more dependent your body is on insulin, meaning more insulin than normal is required to achieve the same effect.
- First, low blood sugar can occur when insulin is chronically present in the blood (a side effect of some insulin medications), which poses its problems.
- Second, insulin promotes fat storage, because it inhibits the natural breakdown of fat while it is active and is why those with impaired insulin function – in the case of Type 2 diabetes, tend to be overweight.
Good health usually follows a low insulin resistance and high insulin sensitivity. When insulin function is not impaired, and the body can manage its insulin production and movement correctly, its harmful side effects are mitigated, and it then performs its essential functions efficiently.