Think of an old car starter whose pins have been so worn down by years of friction against the key's teeth that you have to juggle and twist at the key to get the car to start. When the same thing happens to your body's glucose transport system, your body becomes resistant to the action of insulin. Insulin is still being produced, but the cells no longer respond properly, and fail to mobilize GLUTs in response. As a result, cells don't take in glucose, and blood sugar levels climb.
Thus begins a vicious circle. Because high blood sugar is bad for you, the body responds to insulin resistance by producing more insulin. In the short term, this does the trick, forcing your cells to take in more glucose. But if insulin levels are persistently too high, your cells eventually become even less interested in hearing insulin's cries to take in excessive glucose, and respond by producing even less GLUTs … which makes your cells even more insulin resistant.
Something has to give. If the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas just can't produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control in the face of increasing insulin resistance, then the cycle ends in adult-onset diabetes. On the other hand, if the brute-force strategy of keeping blood sugar levels at manageable levels by cranking insulin levels higher and higher succeeds, a metabolic disorder known as insulin resistance syndrome, or "Syndrome X" ensues. And while full-blown, clinical "Syndrome X" is not diagnosed in most people, almost everyone develops some degree of insulin resistance as part of the "normal" aging process.
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