If you are thinking that this article is only for people with diabetes, be careful! Insulin resistance sometimes happens before diabetes starts and your lifestyle has a big influence on whether you develop this problem.
It is worth knowing what it is so that you can prevent it in time.
Let’s start by clarifying how insulin works… The body’s cells need glucose because it is their main source of energy. But imagine the cells as little safety boxes that require a key to open them.
Glucose cannot enter them without the key. Insulin is just that key. It’s a hormone produced by your pancreas that helps control the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood, allowing some of it to enter the cells and be used as fuel for the body.
When you eat food and the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood rises, the pancreas begins to produce insulin, which attaches to the cells and “opens” them, allowing glucose to enter them.
What is insulin resistance?
Insulin resistance happens when cells literally become resistant to the effect of insulin on them. In other words, the key fails to open the lock on the cells as before. The insulin produced by the pancreas does not work well.
The cells need more and more insulin to allow glucose to enter the cells, and this causes the blood sugar to go up and the energy in the cells to go down. The pancreas continues to produce more and more insulin in response to rising blood glucose, but the body does not react as it should.
And that’s when everything gets complicated, because blood sugar levels begin to rise without anything controlling them and diseases such as pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) or heart disease, among others, develop.
What generates insulin resistance? It is not yet known specifically what causes this cellular resistance, but it seems to be related to certain risk factors such as
Family history, that is, if your parents or siblings have diabetes Obesity, especially when there is fat accumulated in the abdomen Sedentary lifestyle
It is very common that when talking about insulin resistance, it is confused with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome, as if they were the same thing, and they are not. Let’s see why:
On the one hand, insulin resistance is a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes (also called just diabetes because it is the most common).
But it is not only the cause of this disease, but also its main characteristic, which makes it different from type 1 diabetes.
Insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome
On the other hand, insulin resistance is associated with an increasingly common condition called metabolic syndrome or syndrome X.
This syndrome is a combination of factors. It is diagnosed if you have three or more of the following:
Blood pressure of 130/85 mmg/HG or higher Fasting glucose (sugar) 100 mg/dl or more Men's waist diameter: 40 inches or more Women's waist diameter: 35 inches or more Low good cholesterol (HDL) in men: less than 40 mg/dl Low good cholesterol (HDL) in women: less than 50 mg/dl Elevated triglycerides, 150 mg/dl or higher
Metabolic syndrome as well as insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and diabetes increase the risk of developing heart disease and stroke, among other problems.
In other words, insulin resistance can mark the onset of diabetes and other serious health complications. So it’s worth acting to prevent it.
The problem is that insulin resistance usually doesn’t cause symptoms and often goes undetected until your blood sugar levels rise. So if you think you have some of the risk factors we mentioned, it’s best to start changing them as soon as possible.
Insulin resistance begins to cause cardiovascular problems before symptoms develop or diabetes is diagnosed.
We know that changing family inheritance is impossible, but losing weight, reducing abdominal fat, exercising and improving eating habits are all extremely effective strategies for avoiding or reducing insulin resistance.
And so reduce your risk of developing health problems in the future. Take care of your body, you only have one and it has to last your whole life, it’s worth it!