What is insulin resistance? So glad you asked

The start of November officially marks Diabetes Awareness Month.

And while many people are aware of just how prevalent the disease is in our country, they might not fully understand how it develops. Learning about insulin resistance can help you make better lifestyle choices that will keep diabetes at bay.

The basics of insulin resistance

Insulin is produced by the pancreas, and its main job is to control the level of sugar in your blood. It helps the sugar get to your muscles and fat, where it's used up. In a body where there is too much sugar in the blood over an extended period of time, you can become insulin resistant, which means your muscles and fat are blocked from receiving the glucose in your blood. As a result, your pancreas panics at the increase in your blood sugar, and it produces lots and lots of insulin. Eventually, the pancreas gets overworked and breaks down, while your blood sugar stays high, setting the stage for diabetes.

Cholesterol, obesity and diabetes

Too much body fat--especially around your midsection--can increase your risk for developing diabetes, as well as having higher levels of the "bad" cholesterol, LDL.

Pre-diabetes

Before diabetes, there is pre-diabetes--a condition that affects about 79 million Americans. This is when your body becomes insulin resistant and your glucose levels become higher. Studies suggest that damage to your body can already be taking place at this stage, with early heart problems already underway.

Detecting pre-diabetes

A blood-glucose panel can detect pre-diabetes, as well as a blood test called c-peptide. Ask your doctor for more information about these if you think you're at risk.

Prevention

Health experts agree that pre-diabetes and insulin resistance can indeed be prevented. Maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly and eat a diet high in plant-based foods to lower your risk.

Source: Chicago Tribune

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