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Insulin Resistance: Causes, Symptoms And Prevention

When the cells stop responding to insulin the way it should, it is known as insulin resistance. Here's everything you need to know about insulin resistance.

Insulin Resistance: Causes, Symptoms And Prevention

Insulin resistance is strongly linked to obesity


  1. Primarily, insulin is linked to regulating blood sugar
  2. Insulin resistance is the primary cause of type 2 diabetes
  3. The exact cause of insulin resistance has not been identified yet

Insulin is a hormone secreted by pancreas which regulates nutrients in the bloodstream. Primarily, insulin is linked to regulating blood sugar. But it also has an effect on fat and protein metabolism. When you eat a meal high in carbs, pancreas releases insulin in the blood. It signals the body cells to absorb the sugar from the blood. This reduces blood sugar levels and sends sugar to the place where it is required, that is, to the cells or to storage. Ideally, this is how insulin should function.

What is insulin resistance?

In some cases, the cells stop responding to insulin the way it should. In other words, they cells become resistant to insulin. To combat this, the pancreas will start increasing more insulin in the body and results in hyperinsulinemia. Over time this condition can worsen and the body can become insulin resistant. In this condition, both insulin and blood sugar levels spike. The pancreas cells are exposed to damage and start producing low insulin levels. This can lead to skyrocketing blood sugar levels, which, after a threshold, turn into type 2 diabetes. This is why insulin resistance is the primary cause of type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is strongly linked to obesity; however, it can affect you even if you are not obese.

Also read: Site Selection For Injecting Insulin

obesityInsulin resistance: Insulin resistance is strongly linked to obesity

What are the symptoms of insulin resistance?

Normally, if the insulin resistance has not developed into diabetes, it does not show any symptoms. When insulin resistance has reached the secondary stage, when blood sugar levels have skyrocketed, it starts to show some symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Hunger
  • Brain fogs (trouble concentrating)
  • Belly fat
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure

When insulin resistance becomes prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, it shows some more symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

Also read: All About Insulin Use In Diabetes

insulinInsulin resistance: Normally it does not show many symptoms

What are the causes of insulin resistance?

The exact cause of insulin resistance has not been identified yet. However, the risk factors of the same have been identified by experts. They say that insulin resistance can develop in the following set of people:

  • Those who are obese or overweight
  • Those who consume a diet high in carbs and sugar
  • People who have a sedentary lifestyle, no form of exercising
  • Those who consume a lot of steroids
  • People with metabolic syndrome
  • Pregnant women
  • Aged people
  • Those with sleep apnea
  • Those who smoke
  • People with chronic stress
  • Women with PCOD
Also read: Do You Suffer From Insulin Resistance? It's Not The Same As Diabetes​
pregnancyInsulin resistance: Pregnant women are more prone to insulin resistance

Researchers have observed that insulin resistance is more likely to happen in people with these conditions:

  • High cholesterol levels
  • High fat levels in liver and pancreas
  • High level of inflammation

How to prevent or reverse insulin resistance?

It is possible to reduce and reverse the effects of insulin resistance with the help of some simple lifestyle changes. These include:

  • Consuming a diet low in carbs and sugar, ketogenic diet particularly
  • Low calorie diets
  • Weight loss surgery
  • Switching to a healthy lifestyle, a healthy diet coupled with exercising
  • Quit smoking
  • Sleep well
  • Donate blood
  • Intermittent fasting
Also read: Top 5 Food Tips For Insulin Resistance​
smokingInsulin resistance: Quit smoking to reduce insulin resistance
Basically, you need to stick to a lifestyle which reduces your body's need for insulin and induces weight loss as well.

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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information. 


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