There are several stages involved in the development of heart disease. Unfortunately having too much insulin in your blood is involved in each and every stage.
Stage 1: First excessive insulin raises the level of bad cholesterol in the blood – the LDL version. At the same time it decreases the level of “good” cholesterol – the HDL variety. Then it goes on to increase the level of triglycerides in the blood – yet another risk factor for heart disease. Excessive insulin also causes your blood to clot more quickly which increases your risk of stroke. Though your kidneys are not insulin sensitive, when your insulin level is elevated it indirectly causes your kidneys to retain salt and fluid which further increases your blood pressure.
Stage 2: In this stage excessive insulin increases cellular proliferation which damages the lining of your blood vessels. This increases the blood vessels vulnerability and sets the stage for even more blood vessel damage.
Stage 3: In this third stage insulin plays a different role. There are two very different kinds of LDL cholesterol. “Pattern A” LDL cholesterol is light, floats on water and represents no particular threat to the human body. But “Pattern B” LDL is a smaller particle, much more dense form that’s intimately involved in the heart disease process. That’s because it’s this denser form that attaches itself to the blood vessel lining to form artery-clogging plaques. Excessive insulin increases this more dangerous form of LDL. It’s this kind of LDL that forms the “fatty streak” plaques that are the hallmark of early heart disease.
Stage 4: Excessive insulin promotes the conversion of specialized cells called microphages in your blood into foam cells which further promotes the formation of dangerous plaques.
Stage 5: Before the plaque becomes dangerous it must be oxidized by free radicals. Once again insulin plays a role by increasing the level of dangerous tissue-damaging free radicals in your blood. The smaller dense LDL particles that excessive insulin promotes are more subject to free radical oxidation.
Stage 6: This damage to your blood vessel lining triggers an inflammatory response which contributes to the vicious cycle. Excessive insulin boosts inflammation throughout the body including within the lining of blood vessels. Many medical researchers feel that inflammation plays a major role in heart disease and excessive insulin plays a major role in generating it. In addition, studies have shown that this increased level of inflammation can directly damage brain neurons. (The C-reactive blood test measures the level of inflammation in your body. Today more and more doctors are using the test in recognition of the key role inflammation plays in so many different diseases.)
Stage 7: As the plaque builds over the years, it eventually restricts the flow of blood causing either chest pain or other symptoms in other parts of your body. If the blood vessels feeding the brain become restricted, your brain function will inevitably be affected. In numerous studies where insulin was injected into the blood vessels of lab animals, it was found that thick artery clogging plaques accumulated just downstream from the injection sites.
Stage 8: Excessive insulin also directly stimulates the central nervous system raising blood pressure which further increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke. At this stage you may experience TIAs (transient ischemic attacks) which are small strokes that damage small areas of your brain. Damage caused by TIAs are commonly found in the brains of deceased Alzheimer’s patients. Stage 9: Excessive insulin causes the body to increase it’s excretion of magnesium which causes a magnesium deficiency which can then trigger arterial spasms that can directly cause a heart attack. If a heart attack doesn’t get you, remember that excessive insulin has already increased the blood’s tendency to clot. A blood clot can easily form at the site of the spasm and travel to other areas of the body such as the lungs where it can cause a fatal embolism.
Stage 10: You’re officially diagnosed as having heart disease and if that isn’t bad enough this diagnosis dramatically increases your risk of dementia and premature death. After reading the above it should come as no shock that studies have found that fatal heart attacks are three times more likely after a high carbohydrate meal than after a high fat/protein meal!