With the rise of tech watches and fitness bracelets, there is a clear demand for direct access to personalized health information. This gear is however limited in its capabilities and can’t provide the user with readings beyond heart rate, calorie consumption and steps taken. In a time when information is more assessable than ever shouldn’t there be a way to get truly personalized health data such as cancer risk evaluations, vitamin deficiencies and early markers of disease? Blood tests can provide this personalized health profile and put the power to live a longer, healthier life directly in your hands.
Fasting Insulin Level Test
The first of these tests determines fasting insulin levels. Insulin facilitates glucose (sugar) absorption in cells and moves excess glucose into muscles for storage. Elevated insulin levels indicate a metabolic imbalance where higher than average sugar consumption prompts increased insulin production that forces glucose into fat storage. The fasting insulin level test determines the insulin level during a “fasting” period where no food is being consumed. Without food or glucose in the bloodstream normal insulin levels should be low, increased levels signal an imbalance and possible health issues.
Who should get tested?
Though elevated fasting insulin levels can occur without any physical symptoms there are factors that characterize or predict insulin abnormalities, they include:
- low blood sugar (sweating, heart palpitations, blurred vision, dizziness and fainting)
- a family history of diabetes
- gestational diabetes during pregnancy
- high blood pressure, 140/90 or above
- imbalanced cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol (good) and high LDL cholesterol (bad)
- cardiovascular disease
Testing for the fasting insulin level in the blood can determine whether an individual is pre-diabetic. A normal fasting insulin level is 5 µIU/mL (micro international unit per milliliter) though ideally, this number should be around 3 µIU/mL. If your fasting insulin level is higher than 5 µIU/mL you’re at an increased risk for diabetes and other various degenerative deceases. In this situation, you should decrease your sugar consumption, especially fructose (sugar from fruit) which disrupts the cell’s insulin receptor sites. A fasting insulin level of 6.5 µIU/mL or above indicates diabetes.
Prolonged exposure to increased levels of insulin predicts much more than just diabetes. Too much insulin has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, as it aids cell growth and creates free radicals in the bloodstream. It’s also associated with liver damage and impaired vascular function.
Tests like this are important to overall health because they provide life-saving opportunities for preventative medicine and lifestyle changes. Knowing you’re at risk for diabetes, cancer or liver disease changes the context of everyday decisions. This is especially true concerning insulin levels because they’re directly related to sugar consumption and fat storage.
Active muscles are able to burn stored glucose and then use sugar in the bloodstream for muscle reserves instead of fat storage. This lowers the body need for insulin because your muscles are absorbing glucose for energy! Knowing your fasting insulin level can give you the information to make smart, proactive decisions and take charge of your health.