FIVE STAGES OF DIABETES: BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS & INSULIN DYSFUNCTION
Did you know there are 5 stages of blood sugar and insulin dysfunction leading to full blown diabetes, http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/53/suppl_3/S16.full? Most, walk around without knowing their blood sugar levels are high. Upon the diagnosis of diabetes there is a typical sense of shock or disbelief, yet at the same time it represents an estimated 13 year losing battle for the pancreas as food choice triggers excess insulin release and the pancreas loses function. Prevention and intervention should focus on stage 1, the earliest point of dysfunction which is insulin resistance. Unfortunately because clinicians focus on blood sugar and not insulin as a standard test, years are lost and treatment typically begins at stage 3 when high blood sugar levels are present.
The Stages of Diabetes
Stage 1, insulin resistance: Blood sugar levels seem normal because the pancreas balances high blood sugar by releasing higher amounts of insulin.
Stage 2, blood sugar levels rise (pre-diabetes): The pancreas has difficulty keeping up with the demand of producing more insulin to maintain normal levels of blood sugar. The pancreas becomes fatigued from overworking and it puts out less insulin, blood sugar levels begin to rise.
Stage 3, high blood sugar levels (diabetes): Damage to the pancreas begins, insulin output cannot cover the rise in blood sugar levels rise more quickly.
Stage 4, damage to the pancreas (diabetes): An elevation in blood sugar level is the result of years of the pancreas overworking. The pancreas works excessively to lower blood sugar.
Stage 5, Failed pancreas (diabetes): The pancreas produces too little insulin, or none . Need insulin injections to survive.
Early DETECTION: Before Blood Sugar Levels Rise
There may not be any symptoms, or symptoms may not be apparent, throughout any of the stages of blood sugar dysfunction; one of the first signs might be appetite change or weight gain in stage 1. When insulin levels are high, controlling appetite and maintaining weight can be difficult.
Insulin is a fat storing and blood sugar regulating hormone. High insulin levels can affect appetite naturally increasing hunger making it more difficult to lose weight than for those who do not have high insulin levels. This vicious cycle causes an increased appetite, excess eating leading to weight gain and then once the weight is gained higher insulin levels can make it more difficult to lose weight.
Simply, while you may visit a physician on a yearly basis to ensure good health, the doctor using blood tests may not identify dysfunctions in insulin or blood sugar levels. Your awareness of symptoms may be the best and first step to the early detection of disease, supporting a good functioning pancreas and a long healthy life. Read about other symptoms of high blood sugar levels, here.
Current diabetes test standards do not include measuring insulin levels. Make no mistake this is a huge oversight within the medical community. Measuring insulin levels would detect diabetes in the first stage of pancreas dysfunction. Fasting insulin should be less than < 25 mIU/L. It’s prudent to monitor insulin levels at the same time as blood sugar levels, an oral glucose tolerance test with fasting and 3-5 hour insulin levels. With insulin levels measured, the earliest stages of diabetes can be detected along with other medical conditions (hypoglycemia, PCOS, insulin resistance, syndrome X…).
Blood tests or not, lifestyle and most importantly food habits are the best tools to remedy high blood sugar levels or insulin issues. Eating to fuel health is the optimal way to control every stage of any blood sugar issue forever.
Yet pharmaceutical advancements remain at the center of aggressive treatment for high blood sugar. Health leaders support this while doctors pile on the diabetes prescriptions starting at the time of diagnosis. Most people think taking medication is a first line standard of care but it’s not, eating is.
A ketogenic diet is key in each stage of diabetes and is especially critical in stages 4 and 5 to help the pancreas rest and recover.