Hyperinsulinemia and Your Heart

In the same light as our children can drive us crazy with less than intelligent life decisions and defiance, I bet our doctors must go stark raving mad with many of their patients. Think about this; every doctors office across this vast country gets inundated every day with waiting rooms packed full of patients who are ill with self induced maladies that can be prevented through proper nutrition and a little bit of regular exercise.

Joey Bagofdonuts visits his physician’s office on a regular basis with obesity related health issues, and no matter how much his doctor tries to explain how a healthier lifestyle will help Mr. Bagofdonuts, poor Joey continues on with his poor lifestyle choices, hoping his doctor will always be able to fix his health mistakes for him with medicines. Mr. Bagofdonuts, despite being an adult, is little different than a petulant child who always demands that his mother pick up his broken pieces when the game goes bad for him. Mommy then rewards Little Joey with a sweet treat instead of holding him accountable and he has learned nothing, he will go on making poor choices regarding his health. As long as there is a pill to make him feel better, Joey will never be accountable to himself. Folks, if your doctor informs you with information to straighten out your health, it is incumbent that you take the advice to heart instead of being like that petulant child. Medicines and medical procedures are not sweet treats to make you feel good in the moment only to go on about your normal business. No, they are about getting you better so you can go on with a healthier life.once you get better. As what happens to millions of adults every day, Mr. Bagofdonuts eventually ends up with life threatening heart issues or any of many other ailments tied to poor nutrition. It is a damn shame that with all the information in the world available to us in the palm of our hands, as a nation we are the fattest and least healthy of any of our preceding generations. And this, all despite our advances in medical technology.

What is Hyperinsulinemia?

Hyperinsulinemia, is a condition tied to obesity in which there are excess levels of insulin  circulating in the blood relative to the level of glucose. While it is often mistaken for diabetes, hyperinsulinemia can result from a variety of metabolic diseases and conditions. Hyperinsulinemia is also associated with hypertension, glucose intolerance and dyslipidemia. Collectively, these conditions are   known as Metabolic Syndrome. Treatment is typically achieved via diet and exercise, if only the patient will actually do it. Metformin, a diabetes drug, may be used to reduce insulin  levels in some obese patients (typically where obesity is present). However, a healthy diet that is low in simple sugars and processed carbohydrates, high in fiber, and protein is often recommended. Again, as with exercise, this treatment is only good if the patient is compliant.

Hyperinsulinemia and Heart Disease

There are two different diseases which get called “heart disease”. One is Coronary Artery Disease which involves damage to your arteries which lead out of the chambers of your heart, and that feed the muscle of the walls of your heart. The other condition is Coronary Heart Disease which involves damage to the heart itself. It is also known as Ischemic Heart Disease.

Most of the time, Coronary Artery Disease will occur before Coronary Heart disease. The good news is that Coronary Artery Disease can be halted and reversed before your heart itself becomes diseased.

Coronary Artery Disease 

From Mayoclinic.org

Coronary artery disease develops when the major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients (coronary arteries) become damaged or diseased. Cholesterol-containing deposits (plaque) in your arteries and inflammation are usually to blame for coronary artery disease.

When plaque builds up, it narrows your coronary arteries, decreasing blood flow to your heart. Eventually, the decreased blood flow may cause chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, or other coronary artery disease signs and symptoms. A complete blockage can cause a heart attack.

Because coronary artery disease often develops over decades, you might not notice a problem until you have a significant blockage or a heart attack. 

There are methods you can do for yourself to prevent yourself from getting Coronary Artery Disease in the first place. Each of these methods are in your hands at zero cost if only you choose to make the commitment to yourself:

Quit smoking.

Eat healthy foods.

Exercise regularly.

Lose excess weight.

Reduce stress.

If you need to, but choose not to make healthy lifestyle decisions, Coronary Artery Disease will involve three critical changes.

“Change 1” will be the thickening and narrowing of your arteries. Arteriosclerosis will begin when fatty streaks begin to appear on the walls of your arteries. As the artery walls thicken, the inside diameter of your arteries will become reduced which will have a direct impact on the flow of your blood. This thickening of your arteries is a result of an accumulation of cholesterol and other fats that form plaque.

If you believe that because you are not diabetic, therefore you have no worries about insulin, guess again.

Insulin signals the arterial walls to absorb cholesterol from your blood. When you eat a bunch of sugar laden crap that spikes your insulin and keeps it high all day, every day, you suffer great risk of heart disease and or heart attack. When your blood sugar and insulin levels are out of whack, your body has a more difficult time in healing itself. Sometimes, arteries narrow as a result of your body’s attempt to repair tiny blood vessel injuries. Sometimes, small spontaneous hemorrhages can occur as a result of high insulin. As a result, small fibrous plaques may begin to form. If these become calcified, you then have Hardening of the Arteries, or Arteriosclerosis. To compound this problem, insulin will stimulate cell growth. When your insulin levels are high, the walls of your blood vessels are continually bathed with this excess, the resultant cell growth reduces the inside diameter of your blood vessels where your blood flows through your body. Think of the difference in how well a skinny straw works as opposed to a big straw when trying to drink a thick milkshake. Do you want this happening inside of your blood vessels?

“Change 2” happens when your liver produces more cholesterol as a result of high levels of insulin. Many people do not realize his, but 75% of the cholesterol in your blood is produced by your liver (endogenous cholesterol) and only 25% comes from the foods in your diet (exogenous cholesterol). The type produced by your own liver is much more dangerous to your health than the cholesterol you pick up from eating eggs and such. As insulin prompts your liver to produce an excess of cholesterol extra material for plaque formation within your blood vessels is provided. As this cholesterol produced plaque grows, your arteries continue to become more and more choked off.

“Change 3” The third change which occurs from hyperinsulinemia, or high levels of insulin production, is your body reduces its ability to destroy a cement like substance called fibrin which holds the arterial plaque together in much the same way Portland Cement bonds sand and gravel together to create concrete. When you exercise and consume a healthy diet, your body naturally destroys fibrin. With little to no fibrin, your blood will flow freely throughout your body.

When you eat a nutritionally poor diet and are sedentary, the high levels of insulin present in your body will help create greater levels of fibrin. The result is you will have an increased risk now of your blood forming a clot that will not be able to pass through your narrowed and plaque choked blood vessels. As blood flow becomes reduced to your heart, it will not receive the nourishment and oxygen it requires in order to thrive. At this point, you have now entered into Coronary Heart Disease. Sadly you could have prevented this from ever occurring in the first place if you had only made smarter decisions regarding your dietary habits and made it a point to exercise at least a little bit on a regular basis. Once you have reached this “point of no return” the damage is done and no one is going to be able to pick up the broken pieces for you.

Face it, when we eat a poor diet of calorie dense, low nutrition foods every day, we are doing ourselves harm. Indirectly, we are also causing harm to all of our loved ones too. When we choose to be lazy and to eat foods that are laden with added sugar, simple carbohydrates, preservatives, high levels of sodium and unhealthy fats, we are living in the moment like a child who cannot see past the end of their nose, much less twenty to thirty years into their future, if even that long. When see and hear commercials for this gluttonous lifestyle where portions are constantly growing with our mid sections, we never see the end results often until it is far too late. You can prevent the occurrence of Coronary Artery Disease and even reverse the effects through making a personal choice to be healthy. Once this disease has progressed to Coronary Heart Disease, you are living on borrowed time, where a heart attack can  be likely to occur at an given time. We all know that when a heart attack happens, their will be no need for seeing into tomorrow. There will no longer be a need for medicines or medical procedures. While your family is feeling the pain of grieving and making your funeral plans, you will never have a bad day again to worry about.

Make wise decisions with your health and turn your ship around before it is too late.

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