In the last few decades, we have seen a significant rise in the number of critical health conditions all over the world. The most common ones are the conditions for cholesterol levels and high blood sugar levels. If we look around us at least one out of every 10 is either suffering from high cholesterol levels or is prone to be prediabetic or diabetic. While some of them suffer from only increase cholesterol levels in the body, there are a few who suffer from high blood sugar levels and this indirectly leads them to suffer from cholesterol problems as well.
It is alarming to see a rise in the number of these health conditions all over the world. Ever wondered why is this the case? The answer lies in us having a lack of knowledge about the way our body functions. Most of us are not aware of how insulin resistance is produced in our body and at the same time, we do not know how there is a rise in the cholesterol levels in our body. The need of the hour is not just about practicing in preaching healthy lifestyle habits but also spreading knowledge about our human body and the way it works. Every single little function in our body is interconnected. In this article, we will give you an insight into how high blood sugar levels are connected with the cholesterol levels in our body. Read on to know more.
Let us throw light on the food options around us in the first place — we can find added sugars in almost every product available in the supermarket nearest to us. They can be found in all kinds of beverages and foods it could be from donuts to even soft drinks or also in sugar-free foods as well. You’ll be surprised to know that even green teas like the flavored green teas will have added sugar in them. If all of this information is boggling your mind then come down and let us take you slowly through what we are trying to tell you.
So, is there a connection at all?
A high level of sugar that is glucose in our bloodstream is directly associated with a wide host of complications that include cholesterol abnormalities as well. The answer to the linking factor between high blood sugar and cholesterol level lies in the insulin resistance of our body. Insulin resistance is nothing but when the cells of our body no longer respond to the insulin hormone produced. This results in the particular person developing and a global profile of cholesterol that is low high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol or HDL), high triglycerides, and high low-lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol). These are the type of cholesterol abnormalities that had the capability of increasing a person’s exposure to heart disease or stroke. Keeping this in our minds is very important. We need to understand that managing prediabetes or even diabetes for that matter is more than just about keeping your blood sugar levels under check. It is also towards contributing to your good cardiovascular health.
Cholesterol changes and insulin resistance
Let us understand how insulin resistance has a direct effect on cholesterol. You see, once we are done eating our meals, the carbohydrates present in the food that we have eaten break down into glucose with the help of the digestive system. Now, this glucose gets absorbed through the walls of our intestines and makes its way into the bloodstream. Once glucose has entered our bloodstream, insulin which is a hormone produced by the pancreas becomes the primary regulator of the metabolism of carbohydrates. It takes the onus to bring glucose inside various cells of our body so that the cells get the energy to function and do their jobs properly. Insulin also blocks the process of fat breakdown into fatty acids inside our body.
Insulin resistance happens when the cells of our body become lesser responsive to this entire process. When cells do not respond the blood sugar in our body increases and it is considered as a precursor to words type two diabetes and prediabetes.
This makes the breaking down of fats happen at a very increased rate inside our body and this makes its way to severe cholesterol changes. So we can say that specifically, it is the insulin resistance that lowers HDL and increases LDL and triglyceride levels in our body.
The conclusion here that we need to draw is that either a high LDL level or a low HDL level, when paired with a high triglyceride level, is connected to the building up of plaque that is fatty deposits inside the walls of our arteries. This is known as atherosclerosis and this is the condition that increases one’s risk of developing a stroke or a heart attack.
What is metabolic syndrome?
It cannot be specifically called a condition or disease even though the name signals at it. Rather, we can call it an accumulation of circumstances that increases the person’s exposure to words contracting heart disease or type two diabetes. This particular condition is preceded by insulin resistance and the next step to follow would be becoming prey to a cardiac health condition that has stemmed from high glucose levels in the body. There is a particular definition of this metabolic syndrome that is defined by the national cholesterol education program. According to them, metabolic syndrome needs to have three or more of the below-mentioned characteristics:
- Abdominal obesity– It is a waist size higher than 40 inches amongst men and 35 inches when it comes to women.
- HDL levels are lesser than 40 MG/DL among men or lesser than 50 MG/DL among women.
- Triglyceride levels more than or are equal to 159 mg/dL.
- Blood pressure levels more than or are equal to 130/85 mmHg.
- The levels of glucose while fasting is more than or equals 200 MG/DL.
Metabolic syndrome can be treated and the development of heart disease, type two diabetes can also be prevented. For this, the following needs to be kept in mind:
- Lose weight: even if one reduces their body weight by 5% then it directly signals an improvement in not just the cholesterol profile but also in terms of insulin resistance and glucose levels of the body.
- Adhering to healthy eating: There are a lot of common diets, however, it is the Mediterranean diet that is recommended by doctors. This diet is rich in vegetables, nuts, fruits, Olive oil, and whole grains.
- Quit smoking
- Reduce cholesterol: with the necessary medication and good lifestyle changes, LDL which is lesser than 8200 MG/DL can be obtained.
- Exercise: working out in moderate intensity, for example, brisk walking, water aerobics, or dancing for just 30 minutes every single day.
- Control blood sugar: this can be done through medication and also lifestyle changes.
Currently, no medication exists to treat high blood sugar levels from insulin resistance which are approved by the US FDA.
When should you see a doctor?
You must get yearly health check-up done. And whenever you feel that you are experiencing certain symptoms of high blood sugar like urinating a lot or having blurred vision, it is important to visit your family doctor or consult any physician immediately. It is said that a majority of people do not show any symptoms when it comes to high blood sugar and insulin resistance this makes it even more important for one to undergo regular screening. The message to take home here is that yes, insulin resistance is what increases one’s risk towards both abnormal cholesterol levels as well as high glucose levels.