What Is Insulin Resistance?

When the body's cells do not react properly to the effects of insulin, you have a condition known as insulin resistance. In response, the body recognizes this as a shortage of insulin and goes to work to produce even more in an attempt to bring levels up.

What causes this to occur in the first place? There are many things that can trigger it. Genetics plays a part. So does obesity, stress and certain medications. But the most common way that an individual will see insulin resistance is as a pre-cursor to diabetes.

As long as insulin is manufactured by the pancreas to keep up with the body's demands then glucose levels are normal. But as soon as production is not able to keep up, glucose levels rise out of control and the condition escalates into diabetes.

Besides being overweight, there are other risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing insulin resistance. Increased belly fat, and women who develop gestational diabetes while pregnant or who have polycystic ovary syndrome are also candidates. Even certain ethnic groups such as African Americans, Asian, Native Americans and Latinos are at an increased risk.

Symptoms of insulin resistance can include high blood pressure, high LDL, or bad cholesterol and abdominal obesity. The most common way that the condition is verified is through fasting glucose testing. Blood tests are typically used to further verify the diagnosis.

The best way to treat insulin resistance is by lowering the body's need for insulin. How? By maintaining a proper diet of the right amount of carbohydrates, since carbs increase glucose, which in turn ups the demands for insulin. Certain diabetes medications also lower the risk of insulin resistance.

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