Did you know Heart Disease kills 29,000 Americans every day? About one every 39 seconds!
"..Individuals with insulin resistance or diabetes in combination with one or more of risk factors ( poorly controlled blood sugars or out of normal range, high blood pressure, obesity, lack of physical activity, smoking and abnormal cholesterol ) are more likely to fall victim to heart disease or stroke.."
You are probably thinking..." Not me "...
Dr. S wake up call happened a few years ago when a functional medicine practitioner gave her the bad news.
She expressed her frustration to the doctor that she had a very difficult time losing weight. In 2008, she weighed 187 pounds and she wanted to lose at least 30 pounds. A weight that she thought she could maintain.
Dr. S had tried every pill popping supplement at GNC. She had tried the South beach diet, Atkins diet, blood type diet....every diet in the market, every diet book on weight loss.....and, though she may have lost a few pounds initially, she would regain it back....quickly.
Today, most health professionals in a traditional medical practice do not address weight issues or obesity concerns. And pre-diabetes or weight control problems are not a commonly explored educational part of our training as general practitioners. Sure, there are some exceptions. Even then we are taught to follow the food pyramid nutrition protocol.
Intuitively, Dr. S thought that she had a metabolic disorder that was causing her to have serious struggles losing weight. It was obvious that following the recommended food pyramid was not helping her reach her weight goals.
So, Dr. S went to see an Anti-aging Regenerative & functional medicine practitioner who ran a comprehensive lists of preventive blood tests. These tests measure your hormonal imbalances, inflammatory markers and fasting insulin levels among other additional markers.
The results: insulin fasting levels were high (>17) and her fasting blood sugars were high (> 90). A condition that placed her as a pre-diabetic or Insulin Resistance. Her body fat was 48%. She had no other medical conditions. She was a young 34 years old, athletic, gym-goer....what was wrong?
Dr.S felt perfectly well. She never had to take any prescriptions for any chronic illness. In fact in her family because there is an overall concern for any of them developing diabetes her parents set a great example of living healthy. They all went to the gym six out of seven days, ate lean and green foods and even cut down on occasional wine drinking for fear that the excess calories could jeopardize their weight loss goals. They followed what they thought were common sense rules.
So it was without a doubt on that day when another doctor was telling she with a concerning tone that she was pre-diabetic she thought: ” You can't be serious "...." but I go the gym on a regular basis...I eat healthy.... "
“Do you have heart disease in your family?" he asked
"Yes....We have Diabetes and heart conditions on both sides of my family "...." Both grandmothers, Grandfather, and now Aunt K.B....." she said
“You have high inflammatory markers as a result of your pre-diabetic state and your aerobic heart oxygen capacity is being affected by this inflammatory condition" he said.
It all made sense. Her years of being overweight had resulted in the gradual development of insulin resistance....and it was her inherent metabolic disorder of insulin resistance that had caused her to develop excess body fat and a virtual impossible journey to lose weight..."
The reason it was challenging for her to lose weight was because she had Insulin Resistance. So that any starchy carbohydrates, processed foods or food allergens she consumed would cause a spike in her insulin. The daily spikes in insulin were the result of her pancreas working hard to normalize circulating blood sugars. Because her muscle and liver cells were inherently “resistant" to insulin (hence the name)...her body was in a state of glucose starvation.
So her pancreas worked harder and harder to produce more insulin in an effort for her muscle and liver cells to utilize the glucose it needed. This inherent resistance of major organ cells to utilize glucose would cause insulin to deposit the excess glucose in fat cells…And that perpetuated a vicious cycle....of high inflammation,damaged blood vessels, reduced aerobic heart capability, high insulin, starved cells, excess body fat, hunger cravings and....difficulty losing weight and heart disease".
Did you know these particular tests are not commonly done at your local physician’s office? Instead, the common trend is for the average patient to manifest symptoms of diabetes so that another set of tests are performed to confirm what is obvious....Diabetes.
The average progression from Insulin Resistance to Diabetes is about 10-30 yrs. During that time the inflammatory cascade of events caused by insulin resistance has already damaged vital blood vessels and damaged your energy heart metabolism. Another deadly consequence is the elevation of lipids especially triglycerides putting you at risk for plaque formation and stroke.
As a result of her extensive fellowship training in the field of Anti-aging Regenerative & Functional Medicine, Dr.S has ended her struggle with weight loss. Her insulin resistance is under control using medical foods and low glycemic meals. Her body fat is now 30.8 %. She performs detoxification programs as needed. She have no more hunger cravings or sugar addictions. She knows now that her lifestyle habits of eating lean and green foods and exercising are now working for her, not against her, and that she can now focus on other ambitions and projects knowing that her health is optimum.
Reduce your health risks now. Learn more about personalized physician supervised preventative programs and the science behind functional medicine at Milwaukee Center for Longevity Medicine.
Alexandra Solano, MD