Metabolic Syndrome refers to a group of metabolic risk factors that often occur together such as abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, insulin resistance, inflammation and tendency to form blood clots. Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar is one of the main causes of metabolic syndrome. High blood sugar is caused by having excessive carbohydrates in the body. Some observers claim that hyperglycemia can be simply called “excess carbohydrate disease”.
That is a little simplistic, however, as not all carbohydrates have the same effect on body function. The differences between ingestion of simple sugars and more complex carbohydrates and their subsequent health effects are becoming more widely understood every day.
How Hyperglycemia Leads to Insulin Resistance
When a person consumes excess carbohydrates his pancreas will secrete insulin in order to move excess glucose from his blood into his cells where glucose will then be used or stored for energy production. Continuous consumption of excess simple carbohydrates will cause a person’s cells to eventually become unable to respond to insulin. In other words, chronic consumption of too many carbs will only make the cells lose the ability to hear the insulin knocking. As a response the pancreas will then produce even more insulin as its way of knocking harder, with the hope that the cells will notice and finally respond to it and this is when insulin resistance starts to occur.
A further consequence is that repeated instances of insulin surges can lead to damage of the thyroid gland especially among people who have autoimmune thyroid disease. Once the thyroid gland is damaged thyroid hormone production will also diminish.
Hypoglycemia and Thyroid Damage
If high blood sugar levels can cause damage to the thyroid glands, chronic low blood sugar can also lead to the same problem. Prolonged or severe hypoglycemia can lead to coma, seizures and death. The human body is programmed to detect low blood sugar levels and see it as a threat to life.
If your blood sugar levels become very low, your body will respond by allowing your adrenal glands to secrete a hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol will then send signals to the liver to start producing more glucose so that an individual’s blood sugar levels will return to normal.
Unfortunately, if the person has chronically low levels of blood sugar, cortisol production will also increase. This repetitive cortisol release can also lead to a suppressed pituitary function. This adverse effect on the pituitary gland will also have a negative impact on the thyroid gland.
It is becoming more and more apparent how crucial to health it is to maintain our blood glucose levels within a ‘normal’ range. This is supposed to be and is usually regulated by our dietary intake. If you are not able to maintain your blood sugar levels in an accepted range it will affect your health as outlined above. See your doctor for help and advice.