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Leptin resistance is a condition wherein an individual loses the ability to properly respond to insulin, causing it to work harder than needed. Leptin resistance is usually associated with obesity and is a very complex problem, with many different causes, so a doctor should be consulted to help determine the best course of treatment for patients who have been diagnosed with this condition.
Leptin is a naturally occurring hormone primarily produced by adipose tissue and enterocytes in the intestine that regulates energy metabolism by regulating hunger, which in turn reduces fat accumulation in adipose tissues. Leptin acts to balance energy metabolism by regulating many processes including the metabolic rate; food intake; body weight; and the absorption and distribution of nutrients.
When obesity occurs, the body starts to produce more Leptin than the body requires, which results in increased body weight, increased fat deposition in adipose tissue, and increased insulin resistance. Leptin resistance occurs when the body does not respond well to the normal increase in Leptin production from adipose tissue. Leptin resistance can be caused by several different things including genetic predisposition; genetic abnormalities; a decreased amount of Leptin receptors in the brain; and decreased production of Leptin by adipose tissue.
In obese individuals, Leptin levels decrease in the central nervous system, resulting in lowered insulin sensitivity and an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. Insulin resistance occurs when a person’s body does not respond well to the normal increase in Leptin production from adipose tissue. Insulin resistance often happens because Leptin has an inhibitory effect on insulin secretion and transport by binding Leptin receptor sites in the pancreatic islets. Leptin is also important in the regulation of many other hormones including ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates the appetite, glucose, and cholesterol levels.
The cause of Leptin resistance in obese individuals is often determined based on a patient’s current BMI percentile. For people with an ideal weight or BMI, insulin resistance may be caused by genetic abnormalities in the pancreas or in the adipose tissue or by increased HOMA, or elevated blood pressure levels, and for people with a high risk of type 2 diabetes. There are many cases where a patient has a genetic abnormality in their leptin receptors, making the hormone difficult to stimulate due to insufficient production or excessive production of Leptin.
Another factor that may contribute to the increased risk of insulin resistance in overweight or obese individuals is the occurrence of the condition called secondary diabetes, in which there is a decreased capacity of the liver to efficiently absorb and metabolize glucose. insulin, leading to increased glucose levels in the blood and increased insulin resistance. When insulin resistance is present, the level of Leptin increases, leading to a vicious cycle of poor insulin resistance and increased Leptin levels, causing a domino effect to occur.
Leptin resistance occurs when a person has an increased Leptin level in the bloodstream but does not produce enough to prevent the accumulation of excess fats in fat stores and the release of glucose into blood vessels, resulting in insulin resistance. This condition is called Type 2 Diabetes. This condition causes many of the same problems as obesity, namely: increased body weight, increased body fat, and increased body fat concentration in the midsection, decreased glucose levels, and increased insulin resistance. The symptoms of insulin resistance include fatigue, muscle weakness, nausea, and dizziness. These conditions are common amongst patients with insulin resistance because they often lead to dehydration and loss of energy.
In contrast, patients with primary diabetes usually have an abnormality in the production of Leptin, but do not have the need to increase levels due to insulin resistance. These patients can easily maintain good health with a regular lifestyle and the use of insulin.