This metabolic disorder occurs when our cells fail to respond normally to the hormone insulin that transport blood sugar (glucose) through the body. This blood sugar imbalance is often a precursor to diabetes, which is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. Increased insulin production by the pancreas caused by this disorder can lead to a host of health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, high levels of blood fats (triglycerides) which is linked to cancer, coronary heart disease, and even death.
ARE YOU INSULIN RESISTANT?
Insulin resistance occurs in almost 25% of American adults, and up to 10% of children and teens in the U.S. We have all been reading and hearing about the increase in obesity in our nation, which is one of the most common factors in developing insulin resistance. Lack of physical activity is another. Here is the list of common causes:
- An inactive lifestyle
- Having a parent or sibling with Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Coronary artery disease
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- A history of hypoglycemia
Since being overweight is one of the key factors for being insulin resistant here is a way to check your waist-to-hip ratio which can help you determine if this is an issue for you.
- Measure the smallest part of your waist with a tape measure (no holding in!!)
- Now measure the biggest part of your hips with a tape measure. (where your buttocks stick out the most)
- Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. The answer is your waist-to-hip ratio.
- A ratio that is bigger than 1.0 for men or 0.8 for women shows that your abdoment is obese (very overweight).
- Brain Fog
- Low Blood Sugar
- Intestinal bloating
- Increased weight and fat storage (abdomen and or buttocks)
- Increased triglycerides
- Increase blood pressure
PREVENTION & CURES:
So what can you do to prevent getting it, or what can you do if diagnosed? The main goal in treating insulin resistance and pre-diabetes is to help your body relearn to use insulin normally.
The first step is to begin a weight loss program. If you are already at your proper weight review your diet. Whether or not you need to lose weight it is important to reduce the amount of carbohydrates in your diet, particularly simple carbs (white flour, pasta, processed foods) and replace them with complex carbs (whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, etc). Eliminating sugar will be helpful as sugar and non-whole grains cause your body to produce insulin because they pass through the digestive system and enter the blood stream too quickly, causing a rise in insulin production, which can eventually lead to diabetes. Research done by the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that up to 90% of Type 2 diabetes could be prevented by a Mediterranean diet rich in high-fiber fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains.
Exercise is as important as diet. Physical activity helps your muscle cells use blood glucose because they need it for energy. A National Institute of Health study comparing medication versus exercise and diet to control diabetes/insulin resistance found that exercise had the better result. Not only does eating right and exercising limit your risk of diabetes, but can also lower your cholesterol and chances of getting heart disease and cancer.
Also getting enough sleep is vital – researchers at the University of Chicago have found that lack of sleep can create impaired glucose tolerance, among other health problems. For more information on the importance of a good night’s sleep, click here.
Some supplements that are supposed to help control blood-sugar levels are:
- Psyllium( which is high in fiber)
- A high potency multiple with B-complex, C, E, magnesium and zinc
- Milk thistle
For more information on pre-diabetes and insulin resistance you can contact the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse at 1-800-860-8747, or on the web at www.diabetes.niddk.nih.gov
Please email your questions or comments to: andrea@HealWithHope.com