Insulin Resistance: Your Questions Answered

Insulin Resistance: Your Questions Answered

When the cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin and can’t use glucose from your blood for energy, this is called insulin resistance.

The effect is that your pancreas then starts to compensate, making more insulin, and your blood levels go up.

Insulin resistance affects 1 in 3 people in America. People with Insulin Resistance Syndrome (also known as Metabolic Syndrome) face many health complications such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.

What are the signs and symptoms of insulin resistance?

If you’re worried about insulin resistance, you’ll need a blood test to check your blood sugar levels. However, there are several signs of insulin resistance, which include:

  • a waistline of over 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women
  • a blood pressure reading of 130/80 or higher
  • a fasting triglyceride level over 150 mg/dL
  • a HDL cholesterol level under 40 mg/dL for men or 50 mg/dL for women
  • skin tags or patches of dark, velvety skin known as acanthosis nigricans

What are the risk factors?

The risk factors for insulin resistance include:

  • obesity, especially belly fat
  • inactive lifestyle
  • family history of diabetes
  • a diet high in carbohydrates
  • if you had gestational diabetes
  • age (over 45 years)
  • health conditions such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

How is insulin resistance diagnosed?

A doctor tests for insulin resistance by looking at looking at your family’s medical history, carrying out a physical exam which includes your weight and blood pressure, and completing blood tests.

The blood tests may include:

  • fasting plasma glucose test, which measures blood sugar after you haven’t eaten for at least 8 hours
  • oral glucose tolerance test, which measures your blood sugar two hours after taking a sugary drink
  • hemoglobin A1c test, which measures your average blood sugar levels over the previous 2 or 3 months. This test is often used to diagnose prediabetes or diabetes, and is often used to determine in a person’s diabetes is under control

Can insulin resistance progress to type 2 diabetes?

Yes. When your pancreas is making more insulin to make up for insulin resistance, your blood sugar levels remain normal in the short term. However, over time, your pancreas struggles to keep up. Without lifestyle changes such as weight loss, exercise, and a better diet, your blood sugar levels continue to rise until you have prediabetes.

If you don’t manage your prediabetes, you’ll develop type 2 diabetes when your blood test results reach a certain level.

If insulin resistance goes untreated, it can lead to complications such as:

  • severe high blood sugar
  • severe low blood sugar
  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • kidney disease
  • eye problems

Can a good diet help with insulin resistance?

Absolutely. An insulin resistance diet can help you manage insulin and blood sugar levels. This would include eating less sugar, fat, meats, and processed starches, and more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and lean poultry.

Many find that eliminating sugary drinks, boosting their fiber intake, limiting carbohydrates, opting for lean protein, avoiding skipping meals, and trying new foods can really help to manage blood sugar levels.

Your journey to better health

If you’re taking steps to better manage your diabetes, you’ll know that following your health provider’s advice and making healthy lifestyle choices are all important. Now, technology can help you to better manage diabetes.

Diabits is a glucose management app that builds a personalized model of the user’s unique blood glucose metabolism and physiology, using it to forecast future fluctuations before they occur. Endobits is a physician platform that enables doctors to remotely monitor patients in real-time. Endobits automatically identify clinically relevant events, allowing providers to save time and focus on what matters most.

We believe in prevention as a service. Helping thousands of people with chronic conditions live a better life is what drives us on.

Reach out to find out more about managing your diabetes.