- by Dr Sheetal Chhabria
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- Feb 09 2017
What Is Insulin Resistance?
Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas, which is an organ located behind the stomach. It allows our cells to convert glucose for energy.
People who have insulin resistance have cells that cannot use insulin effectively. That means that the cells have trouble absorbing the glucose, thereby causing a buildup of sugar in the blood. If the blood sugar level is higher than normal, but lower thantype 2 diabetes, such condition is called prediabetes.
There are some people whoare prone to insulin resistance and others don’t. Overweight is one of the leading the risk factors, whilea sedentary lifestyle can also cause prediabetes, especially if one is overweight.
What causes insulin resistance?
Experts believe obesity or excess belly fat is a primary cause of insulin resistance. Scientists used to think that fat tissue functions solely as energy storage. While studies have shown that belly fat produces hormones and other substances which causes serious health problems like insulin resistance, high blood pressure, imbalanced cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease.
Belly fat plays a part in developing long-lasting chronic inflammation in the body. This chronic inflammation can damage body over the time, without any signs or symptoms. Scientists have found that complex interactions in fat tissue draw immune cells to that area and low-level chronic inflammation is triggered. This inflammation can lead to the development of insulin resistance, diabetes-II, and CVD. It has been found that losing the weight can lower insulin resistance and prevent or delay the type 2 diabetes.
Researches have shown that physical inactivity is linked with insulin resistance, mostly leading to type-2 diabetes. In the body, muscles use more glucose than other tissues. Normally, active muscles consumetheir stored glucose for energy and replenish their reserves with glucose extracted from the bloodstream, keeping blood glucose levels in balance.
Studies show that after workout, muscles become more sensitive to insulin, inverting insulin resistance and reducing blood glucose levels. Exercise also aids muscles consume more glucose without the need for insulin. The more the muscles in a body, more glucose it can burn to control blood glucose levels.
Various other causes of insulin resistance may include ethnicity; hormones; steroid use; certain diseases;some medications; sleep problems, especially sleep apnea; older age; and smoking.
What are the symptoms of insulin resistance and prediabetes?
There are usually no symptoms for insulin resistance and prediabetes. People may have one or both conditions for many years without knowing. Even without symptoms, doctors and experts can identify people at high risk by their physical characteristics, also termed as risk factors.
People with a severe form of insulin resistance might develop dark patches of skin, mostly on the back of the neck or around their neck. Dark patches may also be visible on elbows, knuckles, knees, and armpits. This is called acanthosisnigricans.
Preventing Insulin Resistance Problems
We can prevent diabetes simply by exercising daily and consuming a balanced diet. Reducing weight and keeping it at aoptimum level is the best way to get the blood glucose levels in the required range.
It is worth mentioning that a diagnosis of insulin resistance or prediabetes is just a warning. We can often reverse these early symptoms with healthy lifestyle choices.
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