Does your report say that you have Insulin resistance but doctors did not tell you of any alarming health condition? We know it is confusing and in fact, a lot of times insulin resistance is also misunderstood as diabetes, which is not always the case. If not for worst, many of us also confuse it with prediabetes, which again is a very wide understanding of insulin resistance. If you also hold a vague understanding of it and often use insulin resistance, prediabetes, and diabetes interchangeably then read below for the much-required clarity.
What is Insulin?
Insulin is a hormone that the pancreas makes that allows cells to absorb and use glucose and helps to regulate blood sugar levels. This hormone is vital to help the body to use glucose as an energy source for the organism. If there’s a malfunction in that and glucose cannot get into cells, it builds up in the blood and leads to organ damage.
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What is Insulin resistance?
In people with insulin resistance, the cells are unable to use insulin effectively. In more scientific means, IR insufficient biological/metabolic response to given plasma concentration of insulin but is not officially considered a disease. It may be genetically inherited or acquired. Moreover, Insulin resistance is not static – it varies from birth to death, from morning to evening. More technically, it is also called hyperinsulinemia.
Symptoms of Insulin resistance
Symptoms do not usually show up until diabetes develops but a few reported conditions include:
- Voiding syndrome: Increased or frequent urination
- Polydipsia: Extreme thirst
- Anxiety: For food, especially sugar or carbohydrates
- Generalized fatigue: Muscles do not receive enough energy to work properly
- Weight gain: Especially accumulating fat in the midriff
- Hyperpigmentation: Darkening of some parts of the body, mainly neck, regions of the axillae and the groin.
- Cardiovascular disorders: Arterial hypertension, disorders in lipid levels (hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia).
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Diagnosis of Insulin resistance
A homeostatic model assessment called HOMA-IR is used to diagnose and evaluate insulin resistance. It also predicts the risk of progression to diabetes or metabolic syndrome. You can choose to go for IR tests or you can also calculate your HOMA-IR with this calculator.
How insulin resistance is related to prediabetes and diabetes?
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Insulin resistance means that the cells are unable to use insulin effectively on a very minor level, whereas, prediabetes means your blood glucose levels have started to stay higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. In a person with insulin resistance or prediabetes, the pancreas works increasingly hard to release enough insulin to overcome the body’s resistance and keep blood sugar levels down. But over time, the pancreas’ ability to release insulin begins to decrease, which eventually leads to the development of type 2 diabetes. It is how Insulin resistance remains a major feature of type 2 diabetes.
To conclude, a person with Insulin resistance may not necessarily be prediabetic or diabetic but has relatively higher chances of becoming one. To avoid the outcomes healthy diet, weight loss and regular moderate exercise or physical activity can be of great help and can even put prediabetes in remission.