What is Insulin Resistance
Without insulin resistance treatment, individuals in the pre-diabetic state of insulin resistance will usually develop diabetes within ten years.
Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas. Insulin’s job is to help the body use glucose for energy. The body, through digestion, breaks down the food you eat into a sugar called glucose. This glucose enters the blood stream. In the bloodstream is where glucose encounters insulin. Insulin helps glucose enter cells in the body so that the glucose can be converted to energy. Glucose is the body’s main fuel for energy and is dependent on insulin to convert it from sugar to energy.
When an individual has insulin resistance, the pancreas still creates insulin. However, the insulin is unable to get glucose into the cells because the cells are not responding to the insulin. The cells are insulin resistant. The pancreas responds to this insulin resistance by creating more insulin. No matter how much insulin the pancreas produces, the insulin is not able to assist the glucose in getting into cells.
Over time, the pancreas creates more and more insulin because it knows not enough glucose is leaving the bloodstream to be transformed into energy cells. The glucose level in the blood becomes too high. Because of this process, people who are insulin resistant often have both excessive glucose and insulin in the blood. This condition is known as insulin resistance. At this stage, blood glucose levels are higher than is normal or healthy, but not yet high enough for the individual to be diagnosed with diabetes.
Insulin Resistance Symptoms
There are rarely specific insulin resistance symptoms. Individuals can have insulin resistance for years and have no idea they are in need of insulin resistance treatment. In extreme cases, insulin resistance symptoms may be present. An individual may begin to notice dark patches on their skin, usually on their knees, elbows, knuckles or armpits. These dark patches can also develop on the back of the neck. These dark patches are insulin resistance symptoms and a condition called acanthosis nigricans.
Dr.’s often do not test for insulin resistance, but they do test for pre-diabetes using two different types of blood tests. The fasting glucose test tests glucose levels in the blood. A fasting glucose level between 100mg and 125mg indicates that the individual is pre-diabetic. The glucose tolerance test, also tests blood glucose levels. On this test, if you get a blood glucose level between 140mg and 199mg, you have pre-diabetes. It is assumed that if you test positive for pre-diabetes that you are insulin resistant and may have been for a while.
Insulin Resistance Causes
Individuals can have a genetic disposition towards developing insulin resistance. If an individual has relatives who are diabetic or insulin resistant, the individual is more likely to develop the condition. According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC), African Americans, Alaska Natives, American Indians, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Latinos and Pacific Islanders are most likely to develop insulin resistance because of genetics. Insulin resistance treatment can be effective even for individuals with a genetic disposition towards insulin resistance.
Other risk factors for developing insulin resistance include being overweight, physically inactive, over 45, having a baby that weighs over nine pounds, having gestational diabetes and having a history of cardiovascular disease.
Insulin Resistance Treatment
An insulin resistance diet can be a part of an insulin resistance treatment. This diet must include foods with a low glycemic index. Foods on the low glycemic index are right for an insulin resistance diet because they are absorbed into the body at a much slower rate than foods with a high glycemic index. For your insulin resistance diet, consume foods like whole grains, brown rice, broccoli and green beans. High glycemic foods like unrefined sugars, white bread, corn and french fries will not be good for your insulin resistance diet.
Most parts of insulin resistance treatment require no prescription. Losing five to seven percent of body weight and increase physical activity cuts an individuals diabetes risk by 60% according to the Diabetes Prevention Program. For the physical activity portion of your insulin resistance treatment, do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days per week. This exercise does not have to be hi-impact aerobics to count towards your insulin resistance treatment. A 30 minute walk five days per week will have an affect on your blood sugar level and contribute to your insulin resistance treatment.
Lowering your cholesterol through diet and even medication can also help contribute to your insulin resistance treatment. Prescription drugs available to help lower your insulin resistance such as Metformin, can also help with your insulin resistance treatment by, according the NDIC, lowering the risk of diabetes by 31%. So the best strategies are to maintain a healthy body weight and remain physically active. Use the Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine if you are at a healthy body weight and if not, get started on your insulin resistance treatment to prevent developing diabetes.