Insulin Resistance: What It Is and How It Develops

Insulin resistance, the major precursor of type 2 diabetes, is a condition where blood sugar lowering effect or insulin wanes. Unlike with type 1, your pancreas continues to function and produce sufficient amount of insulin whenever glucose level in your blood stream rises, so as to help the cells convert blood sugar into energy. However, the cells’ ability the react properly to insulin becomes impaired over time. As a result, the pancreas has to produce more insulin to compensate for the resistance. Thus, your metabolism aggravates as time goes by, and reduced glucose uptake results in constantly elevated blood sugar levels until you develop diabetes and your body completely stops responding to insulin and blood sugar levels becomes critically high. Thus, high insulin level in the blood is rather a symptom of a problem than a cause.

Insulin Resistance Symptoms

Insulin resistance syndrome is not a condition that occurs suddenly, it takes time to develop.

  • Chronic impaired fasting blood sugar level is the primary sign of developing insulin resistance. Imparted blood sugar levels are lower than diabetes ranges but higher than accepted healthy ranges.
  • Other signs of developing insulin resistance include high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, heart disease. Although all these conditions do not trigger insulin resistance and vise versa, they all have one major cause - unhealthy lifestyle and diet. As a result, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes in frequently observed in obese people with hypertension and heart problems, although the connection between insulin resistance and blood pressure hasn’t been properly studied yet.
  • Kidney damage appearing in the form of protein in the urine is another sign of insulin resistance, although it’s not frequently used to detect the problem as other more obvious signs.

If you experience any of the above symptoms you may need to take an insulin resistance test to prevent complications. The test is called called euglycemic clamp and it checks your glucose metabolism. As to blood glucose readings, depending on the type of blood glucose tests used insulin resistance glucose levels are called either impaired fasting glucose (IFG, with fasting glucose levels between 100 and 125 mg/dL ) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT, with glucose levels between 140 and 199 mg/dL 2 hours after taking a glucose drink). The condition when you have insulin resistance blood sugar levels is also called prediabetes - not yet a healthy state, but not yet diabetes.

Insulin Resistance Diet

The insulin resistance diet should consist of low glycemic foods (those that don’t cause sharp rises in glucose levels) split into 5-6 meals a days. Such diet will help you keep blood sugar within normal ranges.

Insulin Resistance and Low Blood Sugar

There is an opinion asserted by some scientists that insulin resistance may cause low blood sugar - hypoglycemia, which is also known as pre-diabetic condition.