Does Your Lifestyle Promote Insulin Resistance? What to Do About It?
By: Jay Owen
Not scientifically reviewed by Dr. Eeks
Type 2 Diabetes is on the rise all over the world. It isn’t a fatal illness in itself, but its complications can be! There’s been a lot of talk about the ways in which Western diets, excessive sugar intake, processed foods, excess weight, and physical inactivity contribute to the rise of Type 2 Diabetes, and the reason for that is simple. These are all risk factors that make your body respond less well to insulin.
What Insulin Does
Without going into too much detail, insulin tells your body when to store sugar and when to stop using fat. So, if you’re struggling with extra weight that won’t go away or can’t seem to lose fat on your tummy, it may be more than just an aesthetic issue; learn more about this here.
Insulin regulates the levels of sugar in your blood. If they rise too high, the excess sugar begins to damage your blood vessels and nerves. To prevent this, insulin acts as a chemical messenger that tells your body to use sugar from the blood as its top source of energy – and if there’s still too much, to store it.
But if your body is becoming resistant to insulin, it doesn’t work as it should. Your pancreas notices that there’s still too much sugar in your blood and produces even more insulin. And if your pancreas can’t keep up, those sugar levels are harming your body. It’s not a pretty picture.
Symptoms of Insulin Resistance and Risk Factors
Unfortunately, prediabetes, a situation in which the body isn’t responding to insulin as it should, often has no symptoms to speak of. However, if you have a large waist, that could be a sign that it’s developing, or that you have a higher risk of developing insulin resistance. But not everybody who is becoming resistant to insulin has a large waist. The only way to know for sure is to go for blood tests.
However, you can get an idea of your risks by knowing the factors that may make it worth your while to find out how your body is processing sugar. These include being older than 45, having a high BMI, having a history of type 2 diabetes in your family, not getting enough exercise, previously having had gestational diabetes, living with cardiovascular disease or Cushing’s Syndrome, and having issues getting good sleep.
What You Can Do About It
If you’re at risk, go for that blood test! A lot of people who have full-blown type 2 diabetes aren’t aware of it until unpleasant symptoms surface. Early diagnosis means less damage and a better chance of success in treating the problem.
The good news is that even full type 2 diabetes can go into remission with the body responding better to insulin. If you’d like to help your body function better, the answers are predictable: a healthy diet and exercise. And if you’re overweight, weight loss can have dramatically positive effects. It’s not just a matter of looking and feeling better, it’s also about your health.
However, if you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes already or suspect that you may have it, work with your doctor! The main medical treatment for diabetes is medications, such as extra insulin, and it’s perfectly harmless if you use it as directed by a healthcare professional. Delaying medical intervention, on the other hand, could result in permanent damage to nerves and blood vessels.
Just “at risk?” You might be able to solve your problem by adopting a healthier lifestyle. But whatever you do, have your doctor check your blood levels, and don’t crash diet! That can aggravate the problem!
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