insulin resistance
Metabolic Health

Insulin Resistance and Diabetes

In patients who have developed insulin resistance, their organs stop responding to the insulin. These are mainly muscles, fats and the liver. Insulin resistance is very likely to cause diabetes in a person. This is so because insulin is unable to perform its function. The function of insulin is to lower the blood sugar level by converting glucose to glycogen. Since, during insulin resistance, the organs do not react to insulin, the blood sugar increases. Hence, it may develop diabetes.

What is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance means when different organs of your body, especially the liver and muscle, and fat stop their insulin response. Moreover, you probably can not use the glucose in your blood to supply energy. Hence, in response to this rise in blood sugar, the pancreas synthesises more insulin. This is because insulin lowers the blood sugar level. So, in insulin resistance, the pancreas uses more insulin due to the rise in blood sugar. However, since the liver, muscle and fat exhibit insulin resistance, the blood sugar keeps rising. Many problems arise due to insulin resistance. These are obesity, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, among others. So, this section clears the insulin resistance meaning.

Symptoms of Insulin Resistance

Your feelings do not tell whether insulin resistance is present in a person. Similarly, you cannot tell the other symptoms of insulin resistance. These symptoms mainly come under insulin resistance syndrome. However, some signs of insulin resistance are given below-

  • Extraordinary thirst or extreme hunger
  • One feels like urinating more frequently.
  • The men have an increased waistline that is over forty inches. Similarly, the women have a waistline that is over thirty-five inches.
  • There is a general sensation of tingling in the hands or feet.
  • The person has an unusual blood pressure like 130/80
  • Also, there is a high blood sugar level 
  • The skin usually turns dark, patchy and velvety. This is a disorder known as acanthosis nigricans.
  • Moreover, there is a feeling of sluggishness and tiredness.
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Risk Factors and Causes of Insulin Resistance

If a person has some of these risk factors, they should go for a checkup of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a disease that can cause the onset of diabetes. Hence, one should be very cautious about it. Here are certain risk factors that point toward a checkup-

  • Having a very inactive life
  • Having low levels of good cholesterol or HDL and also having high levels of triglycerides
  • Having diabetes is a generational disease. If one of your parents or siblings has diabetes, you must go for a checkup.
  • Obesity is also a significant risk factor for insulin resistance
  • Presence of a fatty liver even if you do not consume alcohol.
  • If you develop diabetes during pregnancy, also known as gestational diabetes.
  • Moreover, the risk factor increases for people who have had a stroke.
  • Medication for HIV or others like steroids.
  • Presence of high blood pressure.
  • Smoking is also a risk factor
  • Insulin resistance is likely to occur in Latino, African or Latin American

Diagnosis and Tests for Insulin Resistance

To test insulin resistance, the following tests are recommended by the doctors.

1. Fasting Plasma Glucose Test

This test is used to measure the blood sugar level. It is usually performed after eight hours of your last meal. If there is a high level, it requires a second test after a few days.

  • Blood sugar under 100 mg/dl is normal
  • Sugar level between 100-125 is prediabetic
  • A blood sugar level equal to or more than 126 mg/dl is diabetic.

 2. Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

This test is for two hours. It is used to diagnose diabetes and prediabetes. Before drinking a sugary drink, the patient’s blood sugar is determined. Then a premeasured drink is given to the person. After two hours of drinking it, the test is again to check the glucose level.

  • A blood sugar level of less than 140 mg/dl is normal
  • The sugar level of 140-190 mg/dl is prediabetic
  • A blood sugar of more than 200 mg/dl is diabetic

3. Haemoglobin A1c Test

This test is done to see the average blood sugar level for the past 2-3 months.

  • An A1c below 5.7 percent is normal
  • Between 5.7-6.4 is prediabetic
  • Equal to more than 6.5 is diabetic

Before performing the test, the following questions may be asked.

  • You will be asked about your family history to know if someone else has had diabetes.
  • They will also measure your weight and blood pressure.

Also read about blood sugar random

How does Insulin Resistance progress to Type 2 Diabetes?

In insulin resistance, a person’s pancreas functions to produce more insulin. So, initially, it may work and keep the blood sugar normal. However, over a period of time, the pancreas will not be able to perform this extra production of insulin. Hence, to keep the blood sugar normal, a person should keep exercising and maintain a healthy diet. However, if a person fails to do so, their blood sugar will increase considerably, causing diabetes. The following results of tests show that you are a prediabetic-

  • Fasting plasma glucose test- 100-125 mg/dl
  • Oral glucose tolerance test- 140-190 mg/dl
  • Haemoglobin A1c test- 5.7-6.5 per cent

However, if you cannot control this, the blood sugar level will rise even more and cause type 2 diabetes.

Prevention & Management

To reverse insulin resistance, the following treatment and preventions must be carried out:

  • Regular exercise should include a daily workout of at least thirty minutes. This workout can comprise moderate activities like brisk walking.
  • Intake of a healthy diet- A recommended diet to reduce insulin resistance must be taken. This can include healthy fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and many more.
  • Weight- Obesity is one of the main risk factors for insulin resistance. Hence, one must have a very conscious diet and maintain proper body weight.
  • Medications- The most commonly prescribed medicine for insulin resistance treatment is metformin—this can help keep a check on the blood sugar level of a person.

Bottomline

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the liver, muscles, and fats do not respond to the hormone- insulin. This causes the blood sugar level to rise. Hence, insulin resistance makes a person more likely to develop diabetes. This may also develop insulin resistance syndrome. Some symptoms of this medical condition are- obesity, inactive life, and raised blood sugar levels. So, one needs to take proper care of themselves by leading a healthy life. Insulin resistance treatment is also basically the maintenance of a proper and healthy lifestyle. Also read about the insulin for diabetes

FAQs

How to reverse Insulin Resistance?

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that is used to bind to glucose molecules and eventually reduces the overall blood sugar level of the body. Insulin resistance is a condition where different organs stop responding to insulin and the hormone produced, therefore, does not work as effectively as it would. It is a very common phenomenon occurring in people with diabetes. 

You can reverse the symptoms of insulin resistance and improve your overall sensitivity to insulin by taking the following measures:

  • Exercising regularly – 30-45 minutes of moderate exercise per day would lead to a better blood flow throughout the body and can help in the better working of insulin
  • Maintain/reduce weight – Lose weight by maintaining a strict diet and exercise as a healthier weight range can lead to better flow and absorption of insulin within the body. 
  • Healthy diet – A good diet is key to managing and optimizing blood sugar levels within the body. It helps in all things related to diabetes and can be a great asset even in the long term
  • Medications – Do not stop or skip your medications as they can be highly beneficial in answering your question regarding how to reverse insulin resistance.
  • Yoga – Certain asanas taught in the practice of yoga are also known to be highly beneficial in stimulating the beta cells of the pancreas which can also help to improve overall insulin sensitivity.

What will be the insulin resistance after eating?

Your body’s insulin resistance may not change before and after meals. However, in case you have been diagnosed with diabetes and you are looking to improve your overall insulin sensitivity, you may have to work towards it. Certain foods and food categories may not be helpful and may cause your body to become more resistant to insulin. Eating the wrong kinds of food can be one of the causes for insulin resistance.  

Foods to avoid that can cause insulin resistance to worsen would be – deep-fried and highly processed foods, foods that are high in carbs, artificially sweetened foods, sugary foods, refined and processed grains, etc.

Having a healthy diet with an abundance of fibers, proteins, vitamins, minerals, etc would be the best diet to not only prevent insulin resistance but also improve it. Choose low-fat dairy, fruits, and vegetables to be an active part of your diet. This is what to eat to reverse insulin resistance.

 what is insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes

Insulin resistance and diabetes type 2 are pretty common. Often, insulin resistance can be the cause of the development of type 2 diabetes. It is a complex condition wherein the body and the organs do not respond as they usually would to insulin. This hormone, insulin, is produced by the pancreas and is essential in the body to regulate blood sugar levels and keep them in the optimal range. This impaired insulin sensitivity can happen when the cells in the liver or other organs become unresponsive to insulin. If this condition persists for too long, it can lead to hyperglycemia and then the development of type 2 diabetes.

On occasion, insulin resistance can also be a symptom of type 2 diabetes, wherein weight gain, unhealthy diet, and lifestyle, along with some other factors may result in the body becoming less receptive to insulin over time. Therefore, insulin resistance can be both, a cause and a consequence, of type 2 diabetes.

 Does insulin resistance cause acne?

When there is insulin resistance in the body, there is an increased release of the hormone to compensate for the inefficient use. This also leads to the production of another factor called IGF-1. It is observed that greater amounts of insulin and IGF-1 can lead to the development of acne. This occurs in an interconnected and regulated fashion. In case this condition is accompanied by diabetes, the hormonal fluctuations can lead to the further growth of acne.

Does insulin resistance cause belly fat?

Does insulin resistance cause belly fat is a common question that many people might have during their diagnosis. Visceral fat, or belly fat, is particularly dangerous as it can cause the liver and other organs to become fatty and inflamed. The presence of greater visceral fat is known to cause insulin resistance and vice versa. Diabetes and the conditions associated with diabetes are often interlinked and highly interconnected with one another. So, while insulin resistance can cause belly fat to accumulate, it could also be the other way around. Being aware of the signs and symptoms and any change in the body to be able to get ahead of such conditions before they become permanent.

How long does insulin resistance take to reverse?

“How to reverse insulin resistance?” is a common question and the time it will take to reverse the situation completely is the most anticipated one. However, this is a complex condition that may have many underlying situations and factors affecting it. Depending on each person, their diagnosis, and the parameters of their body, the time taken to change this condition may vary. It may take about 2-3 days to get the process started. Losing weight, following a strict diet plan, regular exercise, etc may catalyze this process and help improve insulin sensitivity faster.

Does insulin resistance cause skin problems?

Insulin resistance and prediabetes do not usually occur alone. They are accompanied by several different issues that may result in other complications. The effect of insulin resistance on skin is also noted in several people. The formation of a dark patch of velvety skin is often seen on the back of the neck, the armpit areas, the groin, etc. If you happen to notice signs like these it could mean the presence of too much insulin in the blood. This can be a sign of prediabetes and also insulin resistance. Insulin resistance and skin are related in another way. Since excess insulin leads to the formation of IGF-1, this hormone can lead to increased production of sebum. This can also cause oily skin. Insulin resistance can cause certain skin problems, therefore, reversing the former might automatically lead to a reduction in the latter.

What is the main cause of insulin resistance? 

Insulin resistance is developed in a person if insulin in the body is unable to perform its functions. Simply, when the organs of your body have stopped responding to insulin such a situation leads to insulin resistance. There are several causes of insulin resistance that include an inactive lifestyle, obesity, fatty liver, consuming less quantity of good cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, etc. All these causes lead to insulin resistance and eventually diabetes. 

Can you fix insulin resistance? 

Early detection of insulin resistance that is type 2 diabetes can be fixed by making healthy changes in your lifestyle. To fix insulin resistance your diet plays a huge role, therefore, it is important to consume food that has a low glycemic index. Added to that, consistent physical activity also helps in fixing insulin resistance. Taking good care of your mental health and reducing your stress levels can also help you to fix insulin resistance.

Can fasting reverse insulin resistance? 

Intermittent fasting involves consciously having eating patterns that complete between fasting periods and eating periods can help to reduce weight and eventually help you to reverse insulin resistance to a larger extent. This method of fasting helps in reducing glucose levels and reverses insulin resistance in your body. Intermittent fasting can improve your metabolic health that helps in managing insulin resistance. Read more about fasting blood sugar range and it's test

Can you have insulin resistance and not be diabetic? 

Generally, insulin resistance and diabetes go hand-in-hand. However, if you are a non-diabetic facing insulin resistance then your chances of developing type 2 diabetes are higher. Having this type of condition means that you are a prediabetic person which means due to insulin resistance your blood sugar levels are high but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.  

 

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