What is the Science Behind Insulin Resistance?

diabetic person using a pen insulin self injection
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Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas to help get glucose (sugar) into your cells. It also helps keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range.

When your body’s cells resist insulin, blood sugar levels start to rise. That can lead to prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes if it’s not treated.

1. Insufficient Insulin

What is the science behind insulin resistance?

Insulin is a hormone that helps cells absorb glucose, the main source of energy for your body. It also regulates blood sugar levels by moving glucose from the bloodstream into your cells and from your liver and muscle to the rest of your body for storage.

In a healthy person, the beta cells in your pancreas make enough insulin to keep blood glucose within a normal range. But if you have a condition called insulin resistance, it can lead to high blood glucose, which is the first step toward diabetes.

There are many factors that contribute to insulin resistance, including excess body fat, especially around the waist, and a lack of physical activity. However, if you do have insulin resistance, it can be reversible or manageable with diet, exercise and lifestyle changes.

If you have diabetes, your pancreas can’t make enough insulin to overcome your body’s resistance, which leads to elevated blood sugar (hyperglycemia). This can lead to serious health complications, such as heart disease, stroke and eye problems.

Some people develop insulin resistance as a result of taking certain drugs, such as steroids for pain or inflammation. If you have steroid-induced diabetes, changing your medication or slowing down your weaning off the drug can help reverse the problem.

It’s important to keep your blood sugar within a normal range by eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise and managing your weight. You may also need to monitor your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol regularly to keep these levels in a healthy range. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your doctor. The sooner you get treatment, the better your chances of preventing or controlling diabetes and other health conditions.

2. High Blood Sugar Levels

Insulin is the hormone produced by your pancreas that controls the amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood and sends it to your cells. It’s a vital part of the metabolic process that helps your body use sugar for energy.

As you eat, insulin enters your bloodstream and carries glucose into your muscles, liver and fat cells. This helps your body meet its energy needs, so that you have enough to go around.

Over time, the cells in your body may stop responding to insulin’s effects. That’s called “insulin resistance.” As your body becomes more resistant to insulin, your blood sugar levels rise. This can lead to prediabetes and eventually type 2 diabetes.

You can learn about insulin resistance by talking with your doctor. They may do a physical exam and perform a blood test to check your blood sugar.

They may also ask you about your weight and blood pressure. They’ll probably ask you to fast for about 8 hours before the test, so that your blood sugar doesn’t change.

Your doctor may prescribe medications to help your body make more insulin or to lower your blood sugar. You can also make changes in your diet to increase insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin resistance.

The causes of insulin resistance vary from person to person. Some factors are genetic, while others are more linked to lifestyle. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and losing excess weight can all help your body respond to insulin more effectively.

3. Obesity

Obesity is a complex health condition caused by a combination of factors, many of which are personal to the individual and some that are built into our society. For instance, people are more likely to become obese if they live in communities that do not support safe movement and access to healthy foods or if they have a family history of obesity.

However, even with these risks, obesity can be controlled and preventable through diet and exercise. Taking small steps to make changes that are sustainable over the long term can lower your risk of developing insulin resistance and diabetes.

Insulin resistance is a serious medical condition, so you should get tested for it as soon as possible. This can be done by having your blood sugar levels checked at your doctor’s office or having a glucose load test in the laboratory.

In some cases, your doctor may also recommend a scan of your abdomen to measure the fat in your midsection. This can be an easy way to tell if you have insulin resistance, as a high amount of fat in the abdominal region can cause your blood sugar to become too high.

Your doctor may also refer you to a specialist for an evaluation. These specialists can help you learn how to make healthier choices for yourself and your family, so that you can keep insulin resistance at bay.

You can reduce your risk of insulin resistance by losing weight (even 10% of body weight will improve your risk) and exercising regularly. You can also modify your diet to cut down on carbohydrates and increase the amount of protein and vegetables you eat.

4. Lack of Physical Activity

Insulin is the chemical messenger that tells your cells to absorb glucose (the sugar in your blood). When you eat carbohydrates, they get converted into glucose, which enters the bloodstream. Then insulin instructs the liver to store the glucose in the form of glycogen.

If your body doesn’t use up this sugar quickly enough, your blood sugar will start to rise. This can lead to prediabetes or type 2 diabetes if left untreated.

The best way to combat insulin resistance is by getting regular exercise. It makes your cells more sensitive to insulin, which means that they can more effectively absorb glucose.

It also helps you build muscle, which can increase the amount of glucose your cells can absorb. This is an important reason why exercise is such an effective way to fight type 2 diabetes and improve overall health!

Unfortunately, many people don’t get the recommended amount of physical activity. The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity for adults.

Getting regular exercise has been linked to lower rates of diabetes, obesity and heart disease in several studies. It’s also a great way to help you maintain a healthy weight.

However, if you have any health conditions or are taking medications, make sure you speak with your healthcare provider before you begin exercising. They can guide you in the right direction and help you get the most out of it.

Insufficient physical activity is a major risk factor for several noncommunicable diseases, including high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. It also has a negative effect on your mental health and quality of life.

5. Diet

The science behind insulin resistance is still being worked out, but some of the key factors include diet and obesity. A diet high in saturated fats, sugary foods, and highly processed foods can increase your insulin resistance.

A healthy diet that consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and heart-healthy fats can help reduce your insulin resistance. A doctor or dietitian can recommend a diet that fits your health needs and weight loss goals.

Eating a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet is also recommended, as protein helps keep your blood sugar levels stable. A healthy diet will also include lots of fresh, whole veg and a few portions of lean meat and fish per day.

Exercising regularly can also make your body more sensitive to insulin, which can help to reverse insulin resistance. It’s a good idea to exercise at least 30 minutes per day, at least 5 days per week.

Overweight or obese people are at a higher risk for insulin resistance, especially if they have belly fat, also known as visceral fat. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) believes that belly fat is associated with the release of hormones that trigger inflammation in the body.

The cause of insulin resistance is not completely understood, but it’s often linked to a family history of diabetes, a diet high in sugar and calories, chronic stress, a sedentary lifestyle, steroid use, and being overweight or obese. Other conditions that may impact your ability to control your blood glucose and insulin include Cushing’s disease or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

The best way to lower your insulin resistance is to lose weight, increase physical activity and avoid a calorie-dense diet of highly processed foods, sugary snacks, and unhealthy fats. There is no specific diet for reducing insulin resistance, but a personalized approach can be the key to your success.

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