What is Insulin Resistance?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Insulin resistance is a medical condition in which the human body is producing sufficient amounts of insulin, but the body is failing to make use of the insulin properly. As a result, the individual begins to move from a pre-diabetes status to a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, there are effective ways to treat this condition using diet and exercise in many cases.

Excess weight may lead to the development of insulin resistance.
Excess weight may lead to the development of insulin resistance.

There are several reasons why an individual may become insulin resistant. One of the most common ways that insulin resistance develops is due to excess weight. People who carry around significant amounts of extra body mass put additional strain on the body’s core systems, including the ability to make the best use of insulin that is naturally produced. When this happens, the body continues to manufacture insulin at the same levels as before, but the body no longer responds well to the insulin. To a great degree, this is due to the fat cells and the elevated levels of fat in the bloodstream. Fat inhibits the ability of the body to make use of the insulin.

Making dietary changes may help an individual manage insulin resistance syndrome.
Making dietary changes may help an individual manage insulin resistance syndrome.

Another common reason for insulin resistance to occur has to do with the presence of hypertension. While obese people may also develop hypertension, this is not a condition limited to people who are overweight. Under the right circumstances, hypertension can develop in people who are within what is defined as a normal range of weight and even with people who are underweight. As with fat in the system, hypertension tends to less the body’s ability to respond properly to insulin.

Regular exercise may help an individual manage insulin resistance syndrome.
Regular exercise may help an individual manage insulin resistance syndrome.

The most effective tools to fight this condition are diet and exercise. Altering eating habits to include fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and balanced portions that provide nutrition and fuel for energy will begin the process of shedding the excess pounds and making necessary changes in blood pressure readings. As the fat cells begin to shrink and the amount of fat in the bloodstream begins to recede, the body will begin to respond more favorably to insulin produced in the body or introduced by injection.

Those with insulin resistance may benefit from a low-glycemic diet, which favors whole grains over white flour products.
Those with insulin resistance may benefit from a low-glycemic diet, which favors whole grains over white flour products.

Along with making necessary dietary changes, managing insulin resistance syndrome also involves making changes in lifestyle. Specifically, this means engaging in regular exercise. Far too many people lead sedentary lifestyles, placing their bodies at great risk of breaking down too early in life. Exercise helps to promote healthy function of all the vital organs and mechanisms within the body, including the use of insulin. Even something as simple as a thirty minute walk each day can make a huge difference in an individual’s ability to deal with insulin resistance.

By exercising and causing fat cells to shrink, the body will be more receptive to insulin that's injected into the body.
By exercising and causing fat cells to shrink, the body will be more receptive to insulin that's injected into the body.

Once insulin resistance is diagnosed by a physician, it is important to work with the doctor to come up with the most appropriate regimen for treatment. Along with diet and exercise, the physician may also choose to prescribe medications that will make the management of blood glucose levels easier for the body. This helps to ease the overall strain on the system caused by the insulin resistance and gives the body a fighting chance to partially reverse the problem.

High blood pressure hampers the body's ability to react properly to insulin.
High blood pressure hampers the body's ability to react properly to insulin.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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