Nurse Teaching on Insulin Resistance

When blood glucose levels rise after a meal, the pancreas releases Insulin into the blood. Insulin helps transport glucose in the blood into the cells and tissues throughout the body. Insulin helps cells in the muscle, fat, and liver absorb glucose from the bloodstream. When the glucose is transported from the blood to tissues, the blood glucose levels fall. Insulin stimulates the liver and muscle tissue to store excess glucose. The stored form of glucose is called glycogen. Insulin also lowers blood glucose levels by reducing glucose production in the liver. In a healthy person, these functions act in a good balance with each other and allow blood glucose levels to remain in a healthy range.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a condition in which muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond properly to insulin and thus cannot easily pick up glucose from the blood. This leads to increased blood glucose levels in the body. Since the body is not responding to the usual level of insulin, a higher level of insulin is needed to meet the metabolic demand. The beta cells in the pancreas try to keep up with this increased demand for insulin and so, produce more insulin. Over time, the muscle and liver cells do not respond to this increased level of insulin too, and the demand for insulin secretion further increases, thereby, setting a complex cycle of ever increasing demand for higher insulin levels. Over a period, the beta cells fail to produce the insulin needed and this results in Type 2 diabetes.

Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes

In insulin resistance, muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond properly to insulin and thus cannot easily pick up glucose from the blood. Since the normal insulin levels are unable to help uptake of glucose, the body needs higher levels of insulin to promote this uptake. The beta cells in the pancreas try to keep up with this increased demand for insulin and so, produce more insulin. This increased insulin secretion will help uptake of glucose from the blood and thereby, overcome the insulin resistance and help blood glucose levels stay in the healthy range. Over time, the muscle and liver cells do not respond to this increased level of insulin too, and the demand for insulin secretion further increases and the beta cells of pancreas fail to meet the body’s increased demand for insulin. Without enough insulin, excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream, leading to Type 2 diabetes.

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