25 percent of the adult population has already developed insulin resistance and thousands more are on the road towards developing type 2 diabetes. It is critical for you to know exactly where you stand in the progression of this disease. If you have some of the following insulin resistance symptoms, check with your doctor before things get out of hand.
How can you tell if you have an insulin resistance condition?
Insulin resistance can be a warning of pre-diabetes or diabetes being on its way. Some insulin resistance symptoms are self-evident, but some can only be detected through a clinical test. Check with your doctor to either discard or confirm a diagnosis of pre-diabetes or diabetes if you have or suspect any of these health issues:
- Obesity. Insulin resistance causes the body to store more fat and gain weight after each meal. If you weight more than 15 pounds over your ideal weight or if you have a large abdomen, it could mean you have insulin resistance.
- Hypertension. An excess of insulin in the blood causes the cells to resists the entrance of glucose in the presence of insulin, causing high blood pressure. Blood pressure higher than 145/90 means hypertension. Thus, high blood pressure could mean you have an insulin resistance condition.
- High glucose level. Because insulin cannot usher glucose into the cell, glucose remains in the blood. A fasting glucose test result greater or equal to 110 mg/dl may be a symptom of insulin resistance; a glucose tolerance test result greater than or equal to 140 mg/dl could also mean insulin resistance.
- Low blood sugar. Cells starve for food when insulin cannot escort glucose into the cells, causing prolonged periods of hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia makes you feel agitated and jittery and the symptoms go away after you eat. if you get shaky when you are hungry, it could mean you have insulin resistance.
- High cholesterol and triglycerides. Fasting HDL cholesterol less than 35 and fasting triglycerides greater than 200 could be a symptom of insulin resistance. Fasting means the test is done before breakfast, after a 12 hour fast. High levels of insulin in the blood are a risk for heart disease because they upset the normal metabolism of fat in the body, increasing the levels of LDL cholesterol, the bad guy, lowering HDL cholesterol, the good one, and increasing the level of triglycerides.
- Inflammation. A high level of insulin in the blood causes inflammation by increasing the activity of inflammatory compounds such as C-reactive protein that raises the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Identifying Insulin Resistance
Identifying insulin resistance is important because this is a serious condition that can lead to diabetes. Unfortunately, insulin resistance starts to cause damage, especially in the cardiovascular system, way before diabetes is diagnosed. If you suspect insulin resistance, ask your doctor to perform two tests: the fasting glucose test and the two-hour glucose tolerance test. Insist on having both done if your doctor recommends only one.
What can you do if your tests show pre-diabetes or diabetes?
The first thing is not to panic because, at this stage, the condition can be reversed. Your doctor will probably give you six months to work on it, after which time, he will prescribe diabetes oral medication if your test results have not improved. Don’t wait until that happens. Get serious about reversing your insulin resistance by taking to major steps:
- Start an exercise program. Exercise is the best thing you can do to reverse insulin resistance and prevent diabetes. Just walking at a brisk pace 5 days a week will get you a long way.
- Eat healthily and lose some weight if you need to. Talk to your doctor and ask him for suggestions. On my website, you can find several articles on diet and exercise that will help you in your journey. Attend some nutrition classes, talk to a Dietitian, whatever, but do something. Waiting to see what happens is not an option, because the symptoms will not go away by themselves unless you take some action.
Diabetes is a serious condition and you cannot ignore it. As I said before if you have any of the insulin resistance symptoms mentioned here, start taking some action and do not wait until your doctor prescribes medication because then you will have to deal with its side effects.
Studies have shown that the following health indicators are common to most centenarians:
- Low blood sugar
- Low triglycerides
- Low levels of blood insulin
Being insulin sensitive is one of the most important markers of lifespan. So, let’s live for as long as we can but in the best possible health. This may require some lifestyle changes on our part.