There’s a lot of talk about the dangers of insulin resistance and the prevalence of it across the nation, even in Elk Grove, CA. Insulin resistance is the precursor to type 2 diabetes. In fact, about a third of Americans have insulin resistance and that percentage rises to half when you consider the group that are 60 or older. It’s considered a precursor for type2 diabetes and boosts the risk of having prediabetes, diabetes and other serious health conditions, including stroke, cancer and heart attacks.
Insulin resistance starts at a cellular level.
Each cell in your body needs glucose to function. It’s the energy source. The body has a perfect mechanism for ensuring the cells get it. It sends out insulin that signals the cells to “grab” the sugar/glucose from the bloodstream and put it into the cells. When insulin resistance occurs, the cells ignore those signals, leaving the sugar levels high in the blood. That makes the body create more insulin, because glucose levels are still high. It causes the beta cells in the pancreas to overwork and can’t keep up with the pace. Overtime, that leads to diseases like type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease.
What are the signs of insulin resistance?
There are many signs of insulin resistance, but one of the easiest to identify is a large waistline. Waist circumference of 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men is a signal that you need further evaluation and probably have insulin resistance. For people of Southeast Asian descent, Chinese or Japanese heritage, the measurements of 31.5 inches for women and 35.5 inches for men is indicative that there’s a problem. If you have three or more of the following signs: high triglyceride levels, low HDLs, high blood pressure, high blood sugar or high fasting blood sugar levels, it also can mean you have insulin resistance.
How can you reverse the problem?
There are some factors you can’t control, such as genetics, ethnicity and aging, you can make some lifestyle changes that will affect whether you’ll develop insulin sensitivity, which is the precursor of insulin resistance. If you’re overweight, lose weight. Eating healthier and exercising will help that. In fact, lack of exercise also is a factor for developing insulin resistance, so you’ll be tackling two problems at once. Smokers tend to have insulin resistance more than non-smokers, too.
- You might not expect it, but lack of sleep can lead to insulin resistance. In a nation that values burning the candle at both ends at work, it’s time to make a change and get approximately 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
- One study at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine proved the most effective way to lower the risk is through BOTH diet and exercise for weight loss. It improved insulin sensitivity by 80%, compared to the 38% who lost weight through diet alone.
- Consider what you drink. A large study followed people that drank diet soft drinks compared to those who didn’t and found that those who consumed the most diet sodas had the biggest waist circumference. Stick with water.
- You’ll be ready to hit the sack when you realize that missing sleep for just one night equals eating high fat food for six-months! The study that showed this was presented at an Obesity Society meeting in 2015.
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