Insulin resistance occurs when insulin levels are sufficiently high over a prolonged period of time causing the body’s own sensitivity to the hormone to be reduced.
Once the body starts to get resistant to insulin, it can be a difficult process to reverse because the knock on effect of insulin resistance.
Higher circulating levels of insulin in the blood stream and weight gain help to further advance insulin resistance.
What is insulin resistance?
Insulin resistance is closely linked with inflammation, which is the body’s attempt to heal itself.
It is thought that in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes the body’s immune system releases a chemical called cytokines which is thought to interrupt with the action of insulin.
Therefore, lower insulin sensitivity and increasing insulin resistance.
Type 2 diabetes that is brought on by obesity is a result of chronic inflammation.
Symptoms of insulin resistance
One of the earliest and most noticeable symptoms of insulin resistance is weight gain, particularly around the middle.
Further symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating (brain fog)
- High blood pressure is another common symptom which is caused by high circulating levels of insulin in the blood
Causes of insulin resistance
Research is continuing to look more closely into how insulin resistance develops.
It is thought that the principle cause of insulin resistance is obesity. One theory suggests that central obesity (too much fat around the belly) causes the fat cells to become starved of oxygen and die.
It is thought that the body reacts with an inflammatory response which then sets off the start of insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is a state where the body does not respond to insulin as well as it should. It’s almost like a lack of communication between insulin and the cells of the body. Insulin resistance is a key feature of type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance is a problem because it affects the body in a number of important ways.
With the body being resistant to insulin, the body responds by producing more insulin.
The extra production of insulin can cause more hunger, raise blood pressure and leads to weight gain.
It is still not fully understood what causes insulin resistance. There is discussion about whether weight gain causes insulin resistance or whether it is caused by insulin resistance.
Studies have shown that significantly reducing calorific intake can improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
With insulin resistance being a key factor in type 2 diabetes, the same risk factors for type 2 diabetes generally apply for insulin resistance.
Diets high in saturated fats, trans-fats, refined carbohydrates and processed foods have been closely linked with chronic inflammation disorders and insulin resistance.
Can insulin resistance be reduced or reversed?
Losing weight can help to decrease the extent of insulin resistance.
Changing your diet can also help to halt the progression of or decrease the effect of insulin resistance.
- Read more on reversing the effects of diabetes.