Hormonal health can be thought of as a pyramid, with the foundations of health at the bottom (such as sleep, fitness, nutrition, and balanced stress response), and blood sugar and insulin stability being the next tier up in the pyramid of key factors that stabilize all of the other hormones.
When blood sugar is swinging up and down all day – which it does after eating a carb-heavy meal, for example – such as oatmeal for breakfast without any additional protein and fat – your blood sugar will drop 1-2 hours later, you get hungry, and go for another bagel or a bite of this or that with another cup of coffee.
This cycle may seem nominal at first glance, but it can actually have monumental consequences in both the short and the long term.
Consequences of Blood Sugar Imbalance
When this drop in blood sugar happens, it creates a stress response as the body is struggling to create fuel out of the food you are giving it. In the example of oatmeal above – it’s a great start, a good source of fiber, but if it is not paired with protein and fat, it can’t do much for you, and – in fact, it can actually deplete the cells instead of nourishing them!
This added stress has a very real impact on overall hormone balance, and also on the production of sex hormones, as well as on cardiovascular health, blood pressure, and cognitive health. It can also cause increased anxiety, hunger, or cravings, and a lack of focus or irritability for some people.
If this type of pattern continues, it can lead to chronically high blood sugar and insulin resistance, which then leads to systemic inflammation. Systemic inflammation is associated with many health issues including PCOS, acne, IBS, yeast infections, heart disease, mood swings, insomnia, sugar cravings, and of course type 2 diabetes.
The Way Diabetes is Tested for in the US is Limited
According to the CDC, in 2020 nearly 35% of the current population in the US was pre-diabetic (though most were unaware of it) and over 10% was diabetic. This means that at least half of the country is affected by issues related to blood sugar.
Sadly, the way diabetes and pre-diabetes are diagnosed in the mainstream medical system misses vital numbers in assessing these trends. Most of us get some bloodwork done once a year (if that!), which looks at one or maybe two numbers to determine risk for getting diabetes.
However, your blood sugar is constantly rising and falling throughout the day and is influenced by a variety of factors (Hint: it’s not just diet and exercise!). So getting one or two numbers once a year from bloodwork is simply insufficient, and will most likely not accurately reflect your body’s ability to manage your blood sugar.
What is Insulin Resistance?
Insulin resistance (also known as pre-diabetes) is a precursor to type 2 diabetes. This occurs when the insulin receptors on the cells throughout your body start breaking down and are unable to do their job of ushering glucose (sugar) into the cells to fuel your body.
When this starts to happen, it sets off a cascade of reactions where other systems in the body are unable to function properly as well, leading to systemic inflammation and many of the conditions listed above.
Some of the signs of insulin resistance:
- Having high glucose numbers
- Feeling hungry even after eating a full meal
- Energy drop mid-afternoon
- Excess belly fat
- Difficulty focusing
- Cranky and irritable if meal is missed
If you are reading this right now and recognizing some of these signs, you are certainly not alone. There are millions of people world-wide who are struggling to keep their blood sugar in balance too.
The good news is, most of this is in our control. There are ways to reverse insulin resistance, and set yourself up for hormonal balance for the long term!
CGM’s Provide a More Accurate Measurement for How Your Body is Managing its Blood Sugar
One of those things is to get and start using a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM). These little devices are powerful tools for finding out and tracking what’s going on with our blood sugar.
If you’ve never seen or heard of the CGM, it is a small plastic device that actually affixes to the back of the arm and is left in place for 2 weeks at a time. It is painless to apply, and once in place is practically invisible in day-to-day life other than when we stop to scan it with our phones or the reader.
When we scan the device it tells us instantly what our blood glucose number is, and also keeps a running tab as the day goes on, even when asleep!
At The Women’s Vitality Center, we love using CGM’s as a tool for prevention. When you use a CGM, it helps you get really clear about what your blood sugar is doing throughout the day. We want to see the waking numbers, all the numbers before and after eating, what happens before bed, as well as what happens while sleeping! With this little device you can have all of this information to better understand what’s really going on with this important process in your body.
Are you interested in trying out a CGM to investigate what’s happening with YOUR numbers?
Email blood sugar coach Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how to start getting in control of your blood sugar. NOTE: Men, women and all gender expressions are welcome to do this program, including people outside of California.
Click here to receive a free copy of our E-book, “Sweet Satisfaction”, which gives 3 simple ways to manage blood sugar – and create more satisfaction in your life – that are NOT diet and exercise.