What is Insulin Resistance?
Insulin Resistance is when cells don't respond or become resistant to insulin and therefore can't process glucose correctly. This then causes issues with energy production and a buildup of glucose in the blood. The pancreas reacts to this abnormal response by making more insulin in an attempt to help manage glucose. If the resistance is not corrected, overtime there is an increased risk of developing diabetes as well as diseases including heart attacks, strokes and cancer.
More than 35 million people in the United States have diabetes and an estimated 87 million more have prediabetes or insulin resistance. Many people with insulin resistance are not aware they have the condition. The number of both children and adults with insulin resistance and diabetes is on the rise because one of the main risk factors for diabetes is being overweight or obese. They have identified multiple risk factors besides just weight that are commonly seen in those diagnosed with diabetes
According to the National Institute of Health, in addition to a large waistline, if you have three or more of the following you likely have metabolic syndrome and associated insulin resistance:
- High triglycerides. Levels of 150 or higher or taking medication to treat high levels of these blood fats.
- Low HDLs. Low-density lipoprotein levels below 50 for women and 40 for men – or taking medication to raise low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels.
- High blood pressure. Readings of 130/85 mmHg or higher, or taking medication to control high blood pressure
- High blood sugar. Levels of 100-125 mg/dl (the prediabetes range) or over 125 (diabetes).
- High fasting blood sugar (or you're on medicine to treat high blood sugar). Mildly high blood sugar may be an early sign of diabetes.
Classic diabetes symptoms include:
- Increased thirst and or hunger
- Increased hunger after eating
- Increased frequency of urination
- Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
- Increased tiredness
- Loss or gain of weight
Starts with lifestyle
The first consideration for improving insulin sensitivity or reducing your risk for diabetes is a healthy lifestyle. Creating a healthy lifestyle focused on sleep, diet and exercise is the single best step to take toward naturally managing blood sugar levels and reducing the incidence of disease.
Keys to a Healthy Lifestyle
- Avoid the two most preventable health risks: tobacco and obesity
- Sleep 6-8 hours per night
- Exercise three days a week
- Alcohol and cannabis consumption only in moderation
- Active sex life
- Be happy – you must create your own happiness through positive thinking and decision making
Alternative therapies can support body systems that can be affected by insulin resistance and diabetes.
- Maximizing health of the nervous system
- Enhancing the immune system
- Improving mitochondria function
- Improving insulin sensitivity
- Reducing inflammation
- Reducing body fat
- Increasing lean muscle mass
- Improving sleep
- Improving blood flow to the body and brain