sugar and insulin

What is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance (IR) refers to a condition in which a person’s body cannot effectively use insulin like it should. Because of this, increasingly higher levels of the substance are needed for it to adequately do its job.

IR is a precursor and risk factor for several other conditions, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The symptoms of insulin resistance rarely manifest until years after the process has already begun, which makes it a particularly dangerous and pressing problem to address.

Insulin’s Role in the Body

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps to regulates the amount of sugar in the blood. When food is absorbed into a person’s bloodstream, a signal is sent to the pancreas to begin secreting insulin. The hormone then attaches itself to blood cells and removes the sugar, which then can be used as energy for the body. Since most of the body’s cells can’t accept sugar as an energy source directly, insulin is vital to ensuring that they get the nutrients they need.

Symptoms of Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance increases in severity slowly and over a long period of time, which makes it difficult to detect. Additionally, once symptoms do begin to manifest, they are often vague and applicable to a range of other conditions. However, some of the most common ones include excessive hunger, high blood pressure, and difficulty concentrating. High blood glucose levels is also a symptom, but that’s something that can’t be observed without medical instruments.

Preventing Insulin Resistance

Although IR is a serious condition, it’s not difficult to prevent its onset. The most common recommendation is taking up an exercise regimen. Any sort of physical activity will be beneficial, but most doctors suggest 30 to 45 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week. Additionally, cutting out sugar-heavy foods like white bread, sweets, and fruit juice from your diet can help minimize the amount of glucose entering your bloodstream. Sometimes medication may be necessary to manage insulin resistance, but it should be considered only as a last resort.

Last Updated: February 02, 2015