Insulin Resistance And Diabetes
Insulin regulates the amount of glucose that circulates in the bloodstream. It induces the cells to absorb glucose, which comes from the food people eat.
Insulin is also the chemical messenger that instructs the liver to store some glucose, rather than release it into the bloodstream. The liver packages glucose for storage in the form of glycogen.
Insulin usually helps the body maintain a good balance of energy, not allowing the level of blood glucose to spike for too long.
The reasons for insulin resistance remain complex, and researchers continue to investigate.
The following outline the current understanding of how insulin resistance develops:
A number of tests can help diagnose prediabetes and diabetes:
Doctors usually request more than one of these tests to ensure an accurate diagnosis.
If blood sugar levels consistently fall outside of a normal range, it might indicate that the body is becoming resistant to insulin.
However, a person can take some steps to reduce the likelihood of developing insulin resistance.
Can Insulin Resistance Be Prevented Or Avoided
You cannot prevent or avoid risk factors such as race, age, and a family medical history. You can take steps to reduce your insulin resistance by losing weight , exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet. Choose healthy carbohydrates. For example, eat whole grain bread instead of white bread, drink water instead of soda, and reduce your intake of sugary foods.
If you have or have had gestational diabetes, insulin resistance typically goes away after you give birth. However, you are at greater risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when you are older. That should be a warning to change your diet and lifestyle early so that you can delay it for as long as possible.
How Do I Know If I Have It
If youre wondering if you are experiencing insulin resistance, the first thing to do is check for any signs and symptoms of insulin resistance. Below are common signs and symptoms:
- Feeling fatigued and brain fogged
- Acanthosis Nigricans: dark patches of skin that typically form on the groin, neck, armpit, and in the folds of skin
- Skin tags
- Strong carbohydrate cravings or constant hunger
- Rapid weight gain
- High androgen levels leading to hair loss, hirsutism, and/or acne
If any of these signs and symptoms stand out to you, its important to talk to your doctor to get labs done to confirm if you have insulin resistance or not.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
If youve been diagnosed with insulin resistance, it may be helpful to ask your healthcare provider the following questions:
- Whats causing my insulin resistance?
- What can I do to increase my insulin sensitivity?
- Whats my risk of developing prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes?
- Is there any medication I can take?
- Should I see a specialist for insulin resistance?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Insulin resistance is a complex condition that can affect your health in several ways. Since it doesnt have any symptoms until it turns into prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes, the best thing you can do is try to prevent and reverse insulin resistance by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. Unfortunately, though, not all causes of insulin resistance can be prevented or treated. If you have any questions about your risk of developing insulin resistance or conditions associated with it, talk you your healthcare provider. Theyre there to help you.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/16/2021.
P: Pressurea: A1cf: Fasting Blood Glucose
Please note, with each of these biomarkers, being free of oral medication to achieve these results is a key piece in understanding how insulin resistant you are. On the checklist, youll see free of oral medication as a checklist item, and one goal is to check that box for every biomarker.
Lets dive in to each of these letters individually:
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Insulin Resistance Can Make Weight Loss Difficult
Small amounts of insulin are normally produced after eating which the body uses to turn glucose into energy. Insulin resistance is where the the muscles and the liver resist the action of insulin, so the body has to produce higher amounts to keep the blood glucose levels within a normal range. Insulin resistance can significantly affect lipids by increasing triglycerides and LDL bad cholesterol, and decreasing HDL good’ cholesterol. Insulin resistance can also increase the risk of developing a blood clot, cause inflammatory changes, and increase blood pressure.
Insulin resistance has been associated with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, PCOS, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and fatty liver disease. Some researchers also believe there’s a link between insulin resistance and some forms of cancer. The cause of insulin resistance isnt completely understood – it’s thought to be due in part to genetic factors and partly due to lifestyle. Most people with insulin resistance don’t have any symptoms and the effects on the body progress over several years. When the bodys insulin production can’t keep up, blood sugar increases and over time can progress to diabetes.
I Stands For Ideal Bodyweight
Being overweight elevates your risk for most chronic diseases, and is caused by the accumulation of fat in your adipose tissue as well as in tissues that are not designed to store fat, like your muscles and liver.
You can monitor your bodyweight on an inexpensive bathroom scale to measure your progress at achieving your ideal bodyweight and reversing insulin resistance. Here is how you calculate your ideal weight:
How to Calculate Your Ideal Bodyweight for Women
Measure your height in inches. The first 5 feet of height is equal to 105 pounds, and every inch thereafter is equal to approximately 4 pounds.
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Reverse Insulin Resistance: Use These 8 Simple Steps
Do you want to make yourself immune to chronic disease?
If so, you need to prevent and reverse insulin resistance.
Good news and bad news. Which first? Okay bad news
Insulin resistance is related to almost every chronic disease:
It may not cause them all. But at the very least, persistently high insulin levels exacerbates them.
Good news: you can reverse insulin resistance. And reversing it is one of the most important things you can do for your health.
Learn more below about why insulin resistance is bad and the 8 simple steps to reversing it.
The Types Of Insulin Resistance Tests
Insulin resistance is not something that is commonly tested for. However, if prediabetes or type 2 diabetes is suspected, a doctor will perform an insulin resistance test.
The most commonly used insulin resistance tests are:
Fasting plasma glucose test
An FPG test is used to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes by testing a persons blood sugar level after they have not eaten for 8 to 12 hours usually overnight. When you have an annual physical, the standard blood panel includes an FPG test, which makes it the most common type of insulin resistance test.
Oral glucose tolerance test
An OGTT is performed after an overnight fast. A healthcare professional starts by taking a blood sample, and then you are instructed to drink a high-glucose beverage. Additional blood samples are taken at specific intervals for two to three hours, and the results are compared to analyze how your body processes glucose over time. This test is not used as often as others.
Random blood glucose test
An RBG test measures your blood sugar at any time throughout the day, without the need for fasting. This test is performed when a quick diagnosis is necessary.
The CDC classifies the following results for each blood test:
|Under 140 mg/dL
If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, the ADA recommends being checked for type 2 diabetes every 1-2 years.
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What Are The Complications Of Insulin Resistance
The majority of the complications that can result from insulin resistance are related to the development of vascular complications due to elevated blood sugar levels and elevated insulin levels .
Not everyone who has insulin resistance will have complications. If youve been diagnosed with insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome, its important to see your healthcare provider regularly and follow your treatment plan to try to prevent these complications.
Drinking Plenty Of Water
Water is an important part of any healthy diet. Drink enough water each day to keep you from becoming dehydrated. If you have prediabetes, water is a healthier alternative than sugary sodas, juices, and energy drinks.
The amount of water you should drink every day depends on your body size, activity level, and the climate you live in.
You can determine if youre drinking enough water by monitoring the volume of urine when you go. Also make note of the color. Your urine should be pale yellow.
Exercise is a part of any healthy lifestyle. Its especially important for those with prediabetes.
A lack of physical activity has been linked to increased insulin resistance, according to the . Exercise causes muscles to use glucose for energy, and makes the cells work more effectively with insulin.
The NIDDK recommends exercising 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes. Exercise doesnt have to be strenuous or overly complicated. Walking, dancing, riding a bicycle, taking an exercise class, or finding another activity you enjoy are all examples of physical activity.
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Living With Insulin Resistance
Living with insulin resistance requires lifestyle changes as well as regular use of prescription medicine. You will have to be more careful in making meal and snack choices, reading labels, and maintaining a lower weight. You also will have to commit to regular exercise and take your medicines as prescribed.
It Is Estimated That 25 Percent Of Americans Have Insulin Resistance Here Are Eight Potential Signs You Could Have A Blood Sugar Problem
When your body begins ignoring signals from the hormone insulin to process the glucose in your blood, you have insulin resistance. This can result in blood sugar levels that are too high, and over time, can lead to prediabetes . Insulin resistance can also increase your risk of heart disease and other conditions, which is why doctors recommend you catch itand treat itas soon as possible.
Keep in mind that the most common symptom of insulin resistance is no symptom at all. You can develop it without any obvious outward signs. That said, here are eight potential signs of insulin resistance.
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What Does It Mean To Be Insulin Resistant
Both of insulins primary jobs require your cellsspecifically, the insulin receptors on your cellsto respond to insulin. But for several reasons, your cells may stop responding to insulin as well as they should. In other words, instead of being sensitive to the effects of insulin, they become resistant to the effects of insulinhence, the name insulin resistance. When cells become insulin resistant, sugar stays in your bloodstream, which can lead to high blood sugar.
Signs Of Insulin Resistance
Most people think about diabetics when they see the word insulin, but problems with insulin can occur in a number of different conditions, in people with normal blood sugar. You have probably heard of insulin resistance it is a significant health problem because it’s associated with an increased risk of obesity, heart attacks, polycystic ovarian syndrome, cancer and other serious conditions. People with insulin resistance usually have excessively high levels of this hormone, because it doesn’t work properly. We are seeing an increasing number of patients who have been diagnosed with insulin resistance by their own doctor, yet they don’t fully understand what this term means.
How would you know if your insulin level is too high?
There is a blood test that can measure your fasting insulin, but it isn’t always reliable and many doctors are not willing to order this test. This is a shame because elevated insulin is bad for your health and shortens your lifespan.
Insulin has many important roles in your body. People with too much insulin in their bloodstream are said to have insulin resistance, syndrome X, metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes. They are all interchangeable terms.
Knowing whether or not you have too high insulin is important because it can allow you to make some changes and avoid some serious health problems in the future. Luckily there are several tell tale signs or clues that your body gives you, alerting you to this problem.
The role of insulin in your body
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How To Test For Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance is a hot topic and for good reason. Its estimated over 50% of adults have it, as well as up to 70% of women with PCOS. If you dont know what insulin resistance is, you should! Its a silent condition that can lead to prediabetes, diabetes and increased risk of heart disease. Could YOU have it? Insulin resistance is tricky to diagnose and is not picked up on the usual blood tests. But are there are as signs and symptoms and some blood tests that may indicate you have it. Read on to learn more about how to test for insulin resistance. And stay tuned for my blog post next week on how to reverse insulin resistance naturally.
You may note that PCOS is discussed a lot in this post. This is one of my specialties in my nutrition practice and the majority of women with PCOS have some degree of insulin resistance. However the info in this post applies to everyone who may be at risk for insulin resistance!
What Is The Difference Between Type 2 Diabetes And Insulin Resistance
What many people dont realize is that type 2 diabetes is a condition that takes many years to manifest. The body goes from functioning normally to over secreting insulin in response to the cells not being sensitive to insulin > pancreas not being able to make enough insulin to keep blood sugar in normal range > blood sugar gets more elevated . Once diagnosed with prediabetes, you have a 50% chance of developing diabetes over the next 5-10 years unless you do something about it. The insulin resistance could have occurred for many years prior to diagnosis of prediabetes. Read my original blog post to find out why insulin resistance occurs.
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How Can I Reverse Insulin Resistance
Hereâs the part youâve been waiting for. Yes, itâs possible to reduce insulin resistance, even to the point where you no longer have insulin resistance. Research shows that with the right diet, insulin receptors start to work better within just a couple of months.
The best way to stop insulin resistance is to lose fat.
This way, youâll lower the amount of cytokines that damage the insulin receptors. You can lose weight in a number of ways, by eating fewer calories by intermittent fasting by eating more nutrient-dense and fiber-rich calories, such as vegetables, legumes, lean meats and fish and whole grains. About half the patients I work with are able to improve their bodyâs insulin response over time by losing weight. Others donât entirely reverse their insulin resistance with weight loss but because of their weight loss, their blood sugar levels stop increasing. In other words, their pre-diabetes never progresses to diabetes.
You especially want to reduce your carbohydrates and sugars.
This will not only help you lose weight, it will also reduce the pressure on your pancreas to produce insulin. And the less sugar you consume, the less potential for damage to your arteries.
Getting enough sleep and reducing your stress levels are also vital.
Both poor sleep and stress contribute to the development of insulin resistance by triggering the liver to release sugars into the bloodstream.
How To Treat Insulin Resistance
The good news is that there is a lot of lifestyle changes you can make to improve or completely reverse your insulin resistance ultimately lowering your blood sugar levels.
Exercise Exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce insulin resistance.
Eat a healthy diet Eat a healthy diet full of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, oily fish, nuts and seeds. Avoid having too much processed and sugary foods. You could also try intermittent fasting alternate between periods of fasting and periods of eating. Theres a number of ways to do this so its important to research this method of eating first and speak with a health professional.
Avoid smoking If you smoke, quitting can really help to reduce your insulin resistance.
Get enough sleep
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Summary Of Insulin Resistance And Pcos
Insulin resistance and PCOS often go hand in hand.
Insulin resistance causes excess androgens, which causes a lot of the horrible PCOS symptoms.
Longer term, insulin resistance can develop into Type 2 diabetes and put us at risk for all manner of nasty metabolic diseases. But it is reversible, so you need to address it now.
It needs to be diagnosed by blood tests from your doctor, but some signs that you may be insulin resistant include:
- Blood sugar crashes
- Putting on weight around your belly
- Struggling to lose weight
- Dark velvety patches on your skin
- Skin tags
When Youre Insulin Resistant
If youre serious insulin resistant, you need less glucose, because the insulin that is going in, is not doing its job. On the flip side, if youre insulin sensitive, you need lots of glucose, because the insulin is efficiently putting the sugar away, so glucose is in short supply.
The required glucose infusion reflects your insulin resistance.
The name of the variable measured is the M score.
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