Everything You Need To Know About Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance, also known as metabolic syndrome, affects nearly 1 in 3 Americans, according to recent studies. Many people are likely to experience symptoms of insulin resistance without being aware they have the condition. Read on to find out more about insulin resistance, the risk factors and how you can treat it today.
What is insulin resistance?
Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body’s cells become less sensitive to the hormone insulin, resulting in a decrease in the body’s ability to regulate blood glucose levels. Insulin is produced by the pancreas and is responsible for signaling cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream and convert it into energy.
When insulin resistance occurs, the cells in the body do not respond properly to insulin, resulting in higher levels of glucose remaining in the bloodstream. The pancreas then produces more insulin to compensate for the resistance, leading to higher levels of insulin in the blood. Over time, this cycle can lead to an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and other health problems.
Symptoms and signs of insulin resistance may include:
- Increased hunger
- Weight gain
- Difficulty losing weight
- Blood pressure readings of 130/80 or higher
- A fasting glucose level over 100 mg/dL
- A fasting triglyceride level over 150 mg/dL
- An HDL cholesterol level under 40 mg/dL in men and 50 mg/dL in women
What causes insulin resistance?
Insulin resistance is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. Some individuals may be more genetically predisposed to insulin resistance, while others may develop the condition due to factors such as obesity, physical inactivity and a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugars.
Obesity is a significant risk factor for insulin resistance, as excess body fat can lead to inflammation and the release of hormones that interfere with insulin signaling. Physical inactivity can also lead to insulin resistance, as exercise helps to increase insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake in cells.
A diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugars can contribute to insulin resistance, as these foods are quickly converted to glucose and can cause large spikes in blood sugar levels. Over time, the constant demand for insulin to regulate blood sugar levels can lead to insulin resistance.
Other risk factors for insulin resistance include age, ethnicity and certain medical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome and sleep apnea.
How can insulin resistance be treated?
Lifestyle changes can help manage and improve symptoms of insulin resistance over time. It is recommended to get at least 30 minutes of physical exercise each day to combat insulin resistance, as exercise helps increase glucose energy usage and improve muscle insulin sensitivity. Cutting out carbohydrates, unhealthy fats and refined sugars and substituting more fruits, vegetables, lean poultry and whole grains into your diet can help reduce excess insulin production. These lifestyle changes can work to reduce blood pressure, blood glucose and triglyceride levels over time, as well as helping to raise HDL cholesterol levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of insulin resistance, visit Midwest Express Clinic to get an accurate diagnosis from one of our expert providers. Find a clinic location nearest you at midwestexpressclinic.com/locations.