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Source: National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases,
National Institute of Health. diabetes.niddk.nih.gov
What does insulin do?
After you eat, the food is broken down into glucose, the simple sugar that is the main source of energy for the body's cells. But your cells cannot use glucose without insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin helps the cells take in glucose and convert it to energy. When the pancreas does not make enough insulin or the body is unable to use the insulin that is present, the cells cannot use glucose. Excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream, setting the stage for diabetes.
If you have insulin resistance, your muscle, fat, and liver cells do not use insulin properly. The pancreas tries to keep up with the demand for insulin by producing more. Eventually, the pancreas cannot keep up with the body's need for insulin, and excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream. Many people with insulin resistance have high levels of blood glucose and high levels of insulin circulating in their blood at the same time.
People with blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet in the diabetic range have “pre-diabetes.” Doctors sometimes call this condition impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), depending on the test used to diagnose it.
If you have pre-diabetes, you have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset diabetes or noninsulin-dependent diabetes. People with pre-diabetes also have a higher risk of heart disease.
Insulin resistance can also occur in people who have type 1 diabetes, especially if they are overweight.
Points to Remember:
Glucose is the simple sugar that is the main source of energy for the body's cells.
Insulin helps cells take in blood glucose and convert it to energy
If you have insulin resistance, your body's cells do not respond well to insulin.
Insulin resistance is a stepping-stone to type 2 diabetes.
Lack of exercise and excess weight contribute to insulin resistance.
Engaging in moderate physical activity and maintaining proper weight can help prevent insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance plays a role in the development of cardiovascular disease, which damages the heart and blood vessels.
Controlling blood pressure and LDL cholesterol and not smoking can also help prevent cardiovascular problems.
The Diabetes Prevention Program confirmed that exercise and a low-calorie, low-fat diet are the best ways to prevent type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance is a silent condition that increases the chances of developing diabetes and heart disease.
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