Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in the United States. It affects more than 30 million Americans, and more than one million people get diagnosed each year. Part of the problem is that of the 88 million people who have prediabetes, a large percentage of them don’t even know they’re on the road to diabetes.
One way you can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is to understand what insulin resistance is and make an effort to manage or prevent it. In this blog, Kimberley Shine, MD, of Shine Health and Wellness in Pasadena, California, shares what you need to know about insulin resistance.
What is insulin resistance?
When you have insulin resistance, it means your body doesn’t respond to the hormone insulin. When you eat food, the sugar goes into your bloodstream. Your pancreas then releases insulin, and the insulin allows the sugar to go into your body’s cells. The cells then use the sugar for energy.
Insulin resistance occurs when your cells don’t respond to the insulin, and the sugar builds up in your blood. As a result, your pancreas continues to make more and more insulin in an attempt to get the sugar out of your blood and into your body’s cells.
What can insulin resistance lead to?
Insulin resistance is often a precursor to prediabetes, which is a precursor to Type 2 diabetes. Having insulin resistance may also increase your risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which is the name for a collection of conditions that occur simultaneously, such as increased blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels. And having metabolic syndrome can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
How can I tell if I’m insulin resistant?
The only true way to determine if you’re insulin resistant is to make an appointment with your doctor and get tested. Dr. Shine can use a few different methods to find out if you have insulin resistance. A common way to look for this condition is to check your fasting insulin levels. If you have high levels of insulin after a fasting period, that’s a good indicator that you may have insulin resistance. Another way of checking is to take an oral glucose tolerance test, which involves drinking a sugary solution and checking your insulin levels a few hours later.
How can I prevent or manage insulin resistance?
By engaging in healthy lifestyle habits, you may be able to improve your body’s ability to use insulin correctly. You can help manage or prevent insulin resistance by doing the following:
- Exercise more often to improve insulin sensitivity
- Get more sleep to help your body regulate hormone production
- Manage and reduce stress levels to help your body manage your blood sugar
- Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight to improve insulin sensitivity
- Eat a healthy diet with vegetables and whole grains to improve your blood sugar levels
- Eat fewer refined carbs and less sugar to prevent blood sugar spikes
If you think you may have insulin resistance and want to take control of your health, Dr. Shine can help you. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Shine Health and Wellness today.