Insulin resistance doesn’t usually show signs or symptoms, yet it can lead to major health problems like obesity or type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance tests are needed to make a diagnosis, but knowing the risks, treatments, and ways to avoid them can help you get ready to talk to your healthcare team.
What is Insulin?Your pancreas releases insulin when your blood glucose level goes up, like after you eat or drink. Insulin helps glucose get into your cells, where it can be turned into energy. When the amount of glucose in your system starts to go down, your pancreas gets a message to stop releasing as much insulin.
What is insulin resistance?Insulin resistance is a disease that is linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance means your body can’t react to the amount of insulin it makes. Insulin is made by a cell in your body called the pancreas. It keeps your body from getting too much glucose or sugar. Glucose gives you energy. Too much sugar, on the other hand, is bad for your health.
Signs of insulin resistanceMost people with insulin resistance don’t know until they get a blood test. Everyone has times when their blood sugar is too high. But if your body’s sugar level is always high, you may be thirstier than normal, pee more, feel more tired, have blurry vision, and feel tingly on your feet.
What causes insulin resistance?Insulin resistance is most often caused by being overweight, not being active, and eating a lot of carbs. While they are pregnant, some women become resistant to insulin. Insulin resistance is linked to several illnesses. This includes heart disease, liver disease caused by not drinking too much booze, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Insulin resistance is linked to several risk factors, such as:
- A history of diabetes in the family
- A life of doing nothing
- Race (especially if you’re Black, Hispanic, or Native American)
- Age (your risk goes up the more you get older)
- Using steroids
- Some medicines
- Poor sleep habits
People with certain family and social risks may be told to get insulin resistance tests. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the factors that follow can make people more likely to develop insulin resistance and probably prediabetes:
- Being overweight or fat.
- Being 45 years or older.
- A family history of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), maternal diabetes, heart disease, or a stroke.
- Your health problems include high blood pressure and bad cholesterol numbers.
- Not moving around.
- Someone in the family has had diabetes before.
- Ethnic groups like African Americans, Alaska Natives, American Indians, Asian Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islander Americans.
- Hormonal problems like Cushing’s disease or acromegaly.
- Taking certain drugs, such as glucocorticoids, some antipsychotics, and some HIV drugs.
- Problems sleeping, like sleep apnea.