Fasting Insulin

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fasting-insulin
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For good health, the body must be able to keep insulin and glucose levels in balance. With too little insulin, blood sugar remains higher than normal (a condition known as hyperglycemia) and cells can't get the energy they need. With too much insulin, blood sugar decreases (hypoglycemia), causing symptoms such as sweating, trembling, lightheadedness, and in extreme cases, shock. The most common cause of abnormal fluctuations in blood sugar is diabetes.

This test measures the amount of insulin, the hormone that lets cells take in glucose. Glucose, a sugar that comes from food, is the body's main source of energy. Our bodies break down foods we eat into glucose and other nutrients, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream from the gastrointestinal tract.

Glucose levels in the blood rise after meals and trigger the pancreas to make insulin and release it into the blood. Insulin works like a key that opens the doors to cells and allows the glucose in. Without insulin, glucose can't get into the cells and it stays in the bloodstream.

For good health, the body must be able to keep insulin and glucose levels in balance. With too little insulin, blood sugar remains higher than normal (a condition known as hyperglycemia) and cells can't get the energy they need. With too much insulin, blood sugar decreases (hypoglycemia), causing symptoms such as sweating, trembling, lightheadedness, and in extreme cases, shock. The most common cause of abnormal fluctuations in blood sugar is diabetes.

 

Fasting Insulin Blood Test - Why This Test Could Save Your Life!

 

Insulin is one of the most important hormones in your body. Most people know about diabetes and how this disease can threaten your life if it's not managed properly. Insulin is an important part of this picture and that's why you should test it regularly.

A fasting insulin test is inexpensive and can be done using a single blood sample. Keep in mind that you shouldn't eat or drink anything but water for at least 8-10 hours before doing this test. This is crucial for the accuracy of your fasting insulin blood test result.

Keep reading to learn more about insulin and its role in the body.

What Exactly is Insulin?

Insulin is a substance produced by your pancreas. Its key role is to process the sugar in your blood. Whether you eat lettuce or a hearty meal, all this food is transformed into glucose in the blood. This is also known as blood sugar and it's your primary energy source.

But sugar doesn't help you if it floats around in the bloodstream. When glucose levels rise, pancreatic cells secrete insulin. This insulin "opens up" cells in your tissues, organs, and muscles to absorb some of the glucose in the blood and use it for energy.

Insulin also has a role in lipid metabolism. This means that it helps your body process fats correctly. As you can see, this hormone is vital in keeping you healthy and giving you enough energy to carry out various tasks throughout the day.

Fasting Insulin Test vs Blood Glucose Test

Many people get confused by the fasting insulin and blood glucose tests because they think these are identical tests. However, blood glucose and insulin are two different things. For both of these tests you need to fast, but they entail two different things related to your health.

For example, a blood glucose test reveals how much sugar you have in your blood in a fasted state. This simple result can categorize you as a pre-diabetic or diabetic person. Insulin is the substance that reduces blood sugar levels and it has different reference values.

When you do a fasting insulin test, you check how much insulin is floating in your blood and whether your pancreas works properly. Some people have both a lot of glucose and insulin in their bloodstream and this might be caused by insulin resistance.

What Are the Normal Levels of Insulin?

The reference values for insulin depend on when you ate last time. Remember that as soon as glucose is detected in the bloodstream (because you ate something recently), your pancreas does its job of secreting insulin.

Therefore, the numbers will be higher a few hours after eating in comparison with the numbers shown during a fasting state. For example:

  • Normal insulin levels should be lower than 25 mIU/L of blood when fasting
  • Normal insulin levels should be between 18 and 276 mIU/L of blood 1 hour after ingesting glucose
  • Normal insulin levels should be between 16 and 166 mIU/L of blood 2 hours after ingesting glucose

As you can see, insulin levels increase to absorb the glucose in the bloodstream and send it to cells and tissues. After that, they fall to normal levels and the process repeats over and over again.

What Do High Insulin Results mean?

Having too little insulin is rare and it's usually because your pancreatic cells might be damaged. This means that your body doesn't produce sufficient insulin and you need to rely on a daily dose of this hormone to live normally.

At the other end of the spectrum are people who have high insulin levels even during a fasted state. This is usually called hyperinsulinemia and it's caused by numerous factors. For example, obesity is usually associated with excessively high insulin levels.

Insulin Resistance

One of the main reasons people have too much insulin in the bloodstream is insulin resistance. This is a condition in which your cells become resistant to insulin and they don't "open up" to absorb glucose in the body.

Insulin resistance is also associated with type 2 diabetes. In short, your body produces insulin, but cells cannot absorb the glucose in the bloodstream. As a result, you will feel mostly lethargic and confused since little to no energy (glucose) is fed to your tissues and organs.

Insulin resistance develops over years. It's usually caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, lack of physical exercise, poor diet choices, smoking, excessive drinking, and so on. This makes cells less sensitive to insulin and this is how diabetes develops.

Plaque Buildup

Living with an elevated level of insulin in your body on a regular basis can damage your cardiovascular system. Plaque buildup, a form of wax that lines up the interior of your veins and arteries, can develop as a result of too much insulin in the body.

This leads to high blood pressure, damage to your heart and blood vessels, as well as increased risks for other complications such as coronary artery disease, stroke, heart attacks, and others. As you can see, it's paramount to do everything you can to lower your insulin levels if they're too high.

Lowering your insulin levels depends on what makes them high in the first place. For example, eating less sugar and following a low-carb diet might put less load on your pancreas and this organ will secrete less insulin every day.

Working out more often and adopting a more active lifestyle will also reduce insulin resistance, so cells become more sensitive to glucose. Your doctor will definitely help you with a tailored treatment plan if you have high insulin levels.

Order Your Fasting Insulin Test Today!

It is obvious that insulin is one of the most important hormones in the body. That's why you need to make sure that it stays within normal values. If your results are abnormal, there are plenty of treatment options you can explore to live a healthier life.

 

References:

What Is a High Insulin Level?

Hyperinsulinemia: Is it diabetes?

 

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  1. Go to the "Find a Location" page to find the closest lab location. No need to make an appointment since walk-ins are welcomed. Once you have identified your closest location, go to step 2.

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