When you hear about insulin resistance, you may immediately think of diabetes. However, there are some critical differences between insulin resistance and diabetes. This article will discuss the definition of insulin resistance, symptoms of insulin resistance, treatment, and more.
What is Insulin Resistance?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), insulin resistance is when the cells in your body do not respond adequately to the hormone insulin. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that stimulates body cells to take in sugars, or glucose, from the blood.
When an individual eats food containing carbohydrates, including sugar, a healthy pancreas produces insulin, the sugar goes into the cells to provide energy, and blood sugar levels go back down. In insulin resistance, the sugar will stay in the blood, contributing to high blood sugar levels and potentially pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes over time. Much research needs to be done to determine the exact causes of insulin resistance, though genetics, obesity, and physical inactivity may play a role.
Signs and Symptoms of Insulin Resistance
The pancreas can sometimes overcome insulin resistance, resulting in stable and healthy blood sugar levels. However, according to the Cleveland Clinic, over time, the following insulin resistance symptoms may develop:
- Excessive hunger and thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurry vision
- Slow-healing wounds
Insulin Resistance Treatments
Many wonder how to reverse insulin resistance, primarily through changes in the diet. The Mayo Clinic describes the treatment options to reverse insulin resistance (and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes) as lifestyle changes, medication, or a combination of the two.
Individuals with insulin resistance should aim for gradual weight loss through a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and more. Increasing physical activity can promote weight loss and overall health as well.
In conclusion, insulin resistance is when the cells in the body do not appropriately respond to insulin, which removes sugar from the blood to use for energy. Therefore, insulin resistance can lead to high blood sugar levels and type 2 diabetes.
Following a well-balanced diet and increasing physical activity can promote healthy weight loss that can reduce or prevent insulin resistance.