To put it simply, insulin resistance is a condition that makes it harder for the cells to properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone in the body that is produced by cells that scatter throughout the pancreas. The insulin is then released into the blood stream and spread throughout the body. Insulin is extremely important for regulating cell growth and is specifically directed at metabolism, carbohydrates, fats and proteins. When insulin resistance occurs, your body has to produce more insulin than normal to produce results and too much insulin is not good for the body.
Through scientific study and professional research, there have been several factors discovered that can lead to insulin resistance. One of the strongest factors is genetics. So if you have a family history of insulin resistance then you are at a higher risk of developing it as well. Other potential contributing factors include:
- Certain medicines
- May be part of the metabolic syndrome
- Pregnancy, also known as gestational diabetes
- Infection or severe illness
- Steroid use
Diagnosis and prevention
Similar to pre-diabetes, insulin resistance has little to no symptoms so many people don’t actually know they have it until it’s already progressed to diabetes. Those who are at higher risk will more likely get regular checkups, so catching insulin resistance early on shouldn’t be an issue. Some of the tests used today to determine insulin resistance includes euglycemic insulin clamping or intravenous tolerance testing. Those tests are extremely expensive, though, and mainly used for research purposes. Clinical diagnosis typically comes from fasting insulin levels but a firm diagnosis can’t be made solely with that.
In order to manage your insulin levels, it’s important to change your lifestyle to fit the needs of your body. Its amazing what exercise and diabetes management programs can do to reverse the effect of insulin resistence. Also, by altering your diet, you can greatly reduce the amount of insulin you need. Excessive sugar and starch intake causes the body to produce more insulin so try to avoid eating excessive amounts of those types of food. There are also medications that can help regulate your insulin if it gets to a point where your body can’t regulate on its own. Remember, if left untreated insulin resistance can get worse and may result in diabetes; so make sure you are keeping healthy and have routine checkups.