People diagnosed with insulin resistance or prediabetes usually go on to develop full-blown Type 2 diabetes. These particular diabetics often make enough or even more than an average amount of insulin, but their body’s cells are unable to respond to it. In fact, the body’s cells thumb their noses at insulin and refuse to allow the blood sugar in. The sugar then collects in your blood and remains chronically high with fasting blood sugar levels at 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or even higher.
Much of the excess sugar in your bloodstream then becomes converted and stored away as cholesterol and triglycerides. This is what clogs up your arteries. The excessive amount of sugar and the subsequent rise in insulin are also what makes people overweight.
This insulin resistance has been associated with coronary artery disease. The coronary arteries are located on your heart and feed oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. When the coronary arteries become blocked your heart then does not receive enough oxygen – and heart damage or even complete stoppage can occur. In October 2013 the North American Journal of Medical Science reported the results of a study showing a correlation between insulin resistance and coronary artery disease.
The study included 61 people who had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Their insulin resistance was measured by blood tests and images were made of each participant’s coronary arteries. It was found the diabetics with the most severe level of insulin resistance also had the most severe blockage in their coronary arteries.