Understanding insulin resistance (IR)
Insulin resistance, also called prediabetes, is a health condition with which the cells in your body are not adequately sensitive to the normal amount of insulin secreted by your pancreas, resulting in temporary high blood sugar levels after eating or drinking. Your pancreas tries to produce more insulin to lower your high blood sugar levels. The obvious effects of IR are fatigue and gradual weight gain. The long term health implication is diabetes since your pancreas may eventually fail to keep up with the body’s demand for insulin. The difference between IR and diabetes is that the former is reversible but the later is not.
Is IR that bad?
- Research have shown that people with IR were also presented with many other health problems, such as:
- Reduced sex hormone binding globulin, which is commonly seen in women suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome, increasing the risk of infertility.
- Increased fat deposition, especially abdominal fat, increasing the risk for heart diseases.
What can you do with IR?
- Physical activity and weight loss can help your body respond better to insulin. Research showed that moderate weight loss (i.e. 5 to 10 percent weight loss) could increase insulin sensitivity, therefore reducing your risk of diabetes. The key to preventing diabetes is being physically active, making wise food choices, and reaching a healthy body weight.
- Effects of Moderate Weight Loss and Orlistat on Insulin Resistance, Regional Adiposity, and Fatty Acids in Type 2 Diabetes. Kelley et al. Diabetes Care 27(1):33-40, 2004.
- Effective Exercise Modality to Reduce Insulin Resistance in Women With Type 2 Diabetes. Cuff et al. Diabetes Care 26(11):2977-2982, 2003.