Insulin resistance is associated with higher risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. With insulin resistance, the pancreas produces more and more insulin until the pancreas can no longer produce sufficient insulin for the body’s demands, and then your blood sugar rises.
Insulin Resistance: Causes
Genetic factors is one factor that can lead to insulin resistance. Some medications can also contribute. In addition, it is often seen with the following conditions:
- Metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions involving excess weight, high blood pressure, and elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
- Infection or severe illness
- Inactivity and excess weight
- Steroid use
Other causes of or factors that may worsen insulin resistance can include:
- Taking certain medications
- Older age
- Sleep problems
- Cigarette smoking
Insulin Resistance: Risks
An individual is more likely to have or develop insulin resistance if he or she:
- Is overweight with a body mass index (BMI) more than 25 kg/m2. You can calculate your BMI by taking your weight (in kilograms) and dividing twice by your height (in meters).
- Is a man with a waist more than 40 inches or a woman with a waist more than 35 inches
- Over 40 years of age
- Is of Latino, African American, Native American, or Asian American ancestry
- Close family members who have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or arteriosclerosis
- Had gestational diabetes
- There is a history of high blood pressure, high blood triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, or arteriosclerosis.
- Has polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
Insulin Resistance: Tests
A health-care professional can identify individuals by taking a detailed history, performing a physical examination, and simple laboratory testing based on individual risk factors.
In general practice, the fasting blood glucose and insulin levels are usually adequate to determine whether insulin resistance and/or diabetes is present. The exact insulin level for diagnosis varies by by laboratory. However, a fasting insulin level above the upper quartile is considered abnormal.
Lifestyle changes in nutrition and physical activity can delay the development of type 2 diabetes in individuals with this disease and are the primary recommendation for prevention of diabetes in high-risk individuals. Metformin is the only drug recommended by guidelines, for those patients at highest risk.
Disease management can succeed through lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, and medications.
Insulin Resistance: The Cure
Lifestyle changes in nutrition and physical activity can delay the development of type 2 diabetes in individuals with this disease. Metformin is the only drug recommended by guidelines for those patients at highest risk.