Heart disease, diabetes, hormone imbalances, and even Alzheimer’s disease have one thing in common: they are all affected by high blood sugar levels. In fact, high blood sugar is at the root of many health problems – no thanks to the standard American diet (SAD).
Maintaining normal blood sugar levels (and reversing insulin resistance if it’s already in play) is essential for a healthy mind and body.
What Is Insulin Resistance?
We know that high blood sugar isn’t ideal, but before we can understand how blood sugar levels affect chronic diseases, we first need to explore insulin and insulin resistance.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. After you eat, insulin helps your cells get energy by ushering glucose out of your blood and into your cells. Whatever sugar (energy) is left, the body stores it in fat cells to use later. 
If blood sugar levels are elevated, the pancreas produces more insulin to remove excess sugar out of the bloodstream and into cells to use as energy. It’s normal for insulin to remove sugar from the blood and move it into your cells, but problems arise when there is always too much sugar and too much insulin.
Eventually, your cells will become resistant to the constant barrage of insulin. This leads to too much sugar in the blood – and insulin resistance.
What Are the Signs of High Blood Sugar Levels?
High blood sugar isn’t an abstract concept. You can measure your blood sugar levels with glucose monitors. However, you’ll probably notice the signs of insulin resistance even without a blood test.
Below is a list of the most common signs of high blood sugar and insulin resistance:
Extreme thirst and hunger – no amount of drinking or eating can make you feel satisfied
Fatigue, especially after meals
Intense cravings for sweets or sugary foods – and indulging doesn’t satisfy those cravings either
Difficulty losing weight
Aches and pains
Difficulty falling asleep
The Insulin Connection: Diseases Caused by Sugar
There’s no denying that insulin resistance causes some pretty annoying symptoms like intense cravings. But insulin resistance and high blood sugar is more than just a minor inconvenience – it can cause serious chronic conditions.
Once insulin resistance develops, the body is left with high blood sugar and too much insulin circulating throughout the blood. When hyperglycemia – which is the technical name for high blood sugar – develops, the excess sugar damages the blood vessels, frequently causing inflammation, hormone imbalances, and more. Because blood vessels supply blood and nutrients to major organs – like the heart – those organs then become affected. 
Inflammation and disrupted hormones caused by high blood sugar directly contribute to specific diseases and conditions, including:
Diabetes (Eating too much sugar isn’t the only culprit here. Because carbohydrates are metabolized as sugar, eating a high-carb and high-sugar diet contributes to the development of diabetes.)
Alzheimer’s disease (Experts at Mayo Clinic have studied the link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s and find that the blood vessel damage in the brain from high blood sugar levels increases the risk of cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. 
Heart disease (Research shows that diets with high sugar consumption increase the risk of developing heart disease by 98 percent. 
Cancer (Research shows that high blood sugar levels and high sugar consumption increase the risk of developing several different types of cancer, including colon cancer. 
Breaking the Cycle and Taking Control of Your Blood Sugar Levels
Insulin resistance is sparked by a high-sugar, high-carbohydrate diet. Adopting foods rich in high-quality proteins and fats can help to balance your blood sugar levels, improve your brain health, and reduce your risk of developing these chronic diseases.
Kathryn Trudeau is a content writer and educational professional whose work centers on health and wellness and organic living. She has a passion for nutrition and fitness. She loves matcha, running, and crocheting.
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