Hyperinsulinemia is a condition in which there is excess of insulin in the blood than the normal requirement. When a person has high amount of insulin in blood, it means there is a something wrong that is going on in controlling blood sugar. The pancreas, an important gland which produces insulin senses this and to compensate or control high blood sugar it starts producing more insulin, leading to hyperinsulinemia.
Hyperinsulinemia in itself is not diabetes. But it occurs in association with conditions such as pre-diabetes, diabetes or polycystic ovarian syndrome in women.In majority of cases there is a strong association between obesity and hyperinsulinemia.
Causes Of Hyperinsulinemia
Before knowing the causes of hyperinsulinemia, it is important to understand the way insulin works in our body. Pancreas is the gland that produces insulin. The food that we eat is digested in the intestine and glucose is released in the blood. Glucose acts as a fuel or the energy source for each and every cell in the body. The circulating glucose in blood cannot directly penetrate inside the cell. It needs insulin as an assistant for its transfer from blood into the cell.
Normally, when glucose level reaches higher than normal in blood, the body signals pancreas to release insulin so that glucose can be absorbed by the cells. However, when some changes develop in the metabolic activity, the receptors in the cell do not accept insulin. In other words they lead to a condition called insulin resistance. As a result glucose in blood starts to rise because it remains unutilized. As a result pancreas starts working hard to produce more and more insulin to control rising glucose level. This leads to hyperinsulinemia.
Hyperinsulinemia can be precursor to type2 diabetes. Besides insulin resistance, the other rare cause of hyperinsulinemia is tumor in pancreas. It may also occur due to increased number of insulin producing cells in the pancreas. This condition is called nesidioblastosis. Factors that increase the risk include high triglyceride level, obesity, PCOS, high blood pressure, type2 diabetes, and atherosclerosis.
Signs And Symptoms Of Hyperinsulinemia
Hyperinsulinemia does not apparently produce any specific sign and symptoms. Most people known to suffer from hyperinsulinemia are obese, especially around the belly. Further there may be several other symptoms that may be associated with high blood sugar such as:
- Increased urination.
- Increased thirst
- Increased hunger
- High level of sugar in urine and blood
- Sugar craving
Conditions such as insulinoma can cause severe low blood sugar level because there is raised level of insulin caused due to the tumor. The symptoms in such condition are:
- Increased sweating
- Disproportionate tiredness
If the tumor is large and compressing adjacent organs it can cause pain in abdomen.
Symptoms caused due to a congenital condition called nasidioblastosis are:
- Severe low blood sugar level.
- Exhaustion and confusion.
- Loss of consciousness.
- Increased level of insulin in blood.
- Hypoglucemia in children.
Natural Treatment For Hyperinsulinemia
Usually the treatment for hyperinsulinemia is not different from that of pre-diabetes and diabetes mellitus. This consists of medications as well as living a healthy life style. Medications to control blood sugar may be needed at times, but at the same time exercise and diet are important treatment modalities that are strongly recommended in patients with insulin resistance.
As the cells are insulin resistant, exercise will help the blood sugar to be utilized by the muscles when they work more. Exercise can be in any form such as walking, cycling, aerobic, or even weight training. Patient must at least exercise 5 days in a week for 45 minutes in a day. Besides, exercise will also reduce obesity and ultimately reducing hyperinsulinemia.
Patient must reduce certain foods that contain sugar. Patient must also reduce intake of alcohol. Long term stress can increase the level of insulin and sugar in the blood. Reduce mental stress by practicing yoga and meditation.