Briefly, insulin resistance is nothing more than low tissue sensitivity to insulin. It can be present despite apparently normal blood glucose levels. Insulin is the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels.
Diagnosis of insulin resistance
Why is there currently so much emphasis on early diagnosis of insulin resistance? Because of the complications that can result from untreated, impaired insulin balance in our bodies. This condition can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, this is not the only risk. In women, it can be uncontrolled weight gain or the development of polycystic ovarian disease, which can even lead to infertility.
Mechanism of insulin resistance development
The mechanism of insulin resistance is as follows. Due to impaired insulin transport to the muscles, the pancreas tries to synthesize an increased dose of insulin. Eventually, the amount of insulin in the blood rises. This is the medical condition that we call hyperinsulinism. The effect of it can be a constant increase in body weight, which in consequence may turn into obesity. Insulin is responsible for the growth and increase of body mass, and what’s worse its level correlates with increased appetite. Therefore, such a person will not only gain weight, eating the same portions as before but also the appetite will increase, making it much more difficult to maintain a caloric deficit. However, at some point we reach the wall, the capacity of the pancreas runs out. This is when type 2 diabetes can start to develop.
Diagnosis of insulin resistance
We already know how insulin resistance is formed, now we will tell about how it can be diagnosed. The best way to control the waist size. Too much fat tissue in the abdominal area can be an alarm signal for us. It is not a definite diagnosis, but it can draw our attention to start additional diagnostics for insulin resistance and lipid disorders.
The next step is to control blood glucose with a glucometer. Personal glucose monitors, which more and more people have at home, will allow us to monitor their blood glucose.
Laboratory tests are the final diagnosis, which can be made by the doctor. They include not only the measurement of fasting glucose and insulin levels but also the so-called insulin and glucose curves. The test may be ordered by a doctor or dietician and is called an oral glucose load test (OGGT).
How to treat insulin resistance
The best treatment is a diet based on complex carbohydrates and physical activity. Physical activity is often the key to success in treating this condition. If you reduce body weight, your body fat level will also drop, making treatment much more effective. Any activity, even a low-intensive one, will lead to a decrease in blood insulin levels.
Another component of treatment is diet. Information on what diet will be effective floods the internet. However, you should not trust everything that you read. Pseudo healthy lifestyle websites giving recommendations about highly restrictive diets on their homepage are a really unreliable source of information. The most effective general advice will be to follow a diet consisting of products with a low glycemic index. We should try to make sure that in a person with insulin resistance, the diet includes mostly food that consists of unsaturated fatty acids and fewer products containing trans fats. We should also completely eliminate processed foods. We do everything we can to keep the diet varied, making sure there is an adequate fiber intake.
Sleep is another essential element that leads to an optimal health state. Although some people think that they can get enough sleep while sleeping only 5 or 6 hours. It is a false impression. Proper rest and regeneration for our body are provided by good quality sleep - at least 7 hours. Some people need 9 hours for regeneration and it is also possible. If you feel sleepy the whole day long, you should put aside all your duties in order to sleep it out. Only then we are able to ensure the proper rate of the regeneration process of our bodies.
In some cases they need of taking medications is inevitable. The most commonly used drug for insulin resistance is metformin. It increases the insulin sensitivity of tissues, thanks to which glucose is easier to be absorbed and does not accumulate in the form of fat tissue. As a result of taking metformin, it is possible to reduce body fat and lose weight faster.
To sum up, insulin resistance is a disorder that influences our whole organism, having destructive and pathogenic effects. It is necessary to take care of a healthy lifestyle in case of a diagnosis of insulin resistance. People with insulin resistance should follow a healthy diet and be physically active. They should also take care of their rest and perform regular examinations. This way we can be sure that we control our health and the treatment we introduce will be effective.