How Can Diet Affect Insulin Resistance
Your diet has a big impact on your blood sugar and insulin levels. Highly processed, high-carbohydrate and high-fat foods require more insulin.
In general, eating foods that have a low to medium glycemic index and limiting foods that have a high glycemic index can help you reverse and/or manage insulin resistance. Eating foods with fiber also helps regulate blood sugar levels because it takes your body longer to digest fiber, meaning your blood sugar levels dont spike as much.
The glycemic index is a measurement that ranks foods containing carbohydrates according to how much they affect your blood sugar levels. The Glycemic Index Foundation classifies the GI of foods as either low, medium or high, with pure glucose generally as a reference at 100:
- Low GI: 55 or less.
- Medium GI: 5669.
- High GI: 70 or greater
High-GI foods generally have a lot of carbohydrates and/or sugar and low to no fiber content. Low-GI foods generally have low amounts of carbohydrates and higher amounts of fiber.
Examples of foods with a high GI include:
- White bread.
- Indigenous people from the continental United States.
- Indigenous people from the Pacific Islands.
Although you cant change certain risk factors for insulin resistance, such as family history or age, you can try lowering your chances of developing it by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
High Blood Sugar Over Time Leads To:
- Kidney damage and kidney failure
- Blood vessel damage that can cause heart attacks and strokes
- Eye disease that can cause poor vision or blindness
- Nerve damage that can cause pain like pins and needles in the feet
- Sores on the feet or legs that do not heal and could lead to removal of a toe, foot, or leg
- Sexual problems, such as not being able to get an erection
Taking care of your diabetes and keeping most of your blood sugars near the normal range throughout your life lowers your chance for these long-term problems.
Is There An Insulin Resistance Test
Unfortunately, there is no insulin resistance test that is commonly used in medicine. Your doctor can use a blood glucose test or hemoglobin A1C test to evaluate your blood sugar levels. But remember that in the early stages of insulin resistance, your blood sugar levels may still appear normal, so a blood glucose or A1C test is not always a reliable test of insulin resistance.
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Having Your Blood Glucose Levels Checked
Youll be measuring your blood glucose yourself every day, to check your levels.
Your GP or diabetes care team will also carry out a different blood test every two to six months, called the HbA1c test.
This gives a clearer idea of how well your treatment plan is working, by measuring how stable your glucose levels have been over the past 6-12 weeks.
It measures the amount of haemoglobin, which is the oxygen-carrying substance in red blood cells that has glucose attached to it. A high HbA1c level may indicate that your blood glucose level is consistently high and that your diabetes treatment plan needs to be altered.
The ideal HbA1c target for people with diabetes is below 53 mmol/mol.
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Prevention Of Insulin Resistance
Making lifestyle changes can help reverse insulin resistance so that your body can respond properly to insulin.
Lose weight.Eat a .
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What Causes Type 1 Diabetes
The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is not yet known, but we do know it has a strong family link and cannot be prevented. We also know that it has nothing to do with lifestyle, although maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important in helping to manage type 1 diabetes.
At this stage nothing can be done to prevent or cure type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes And Hyperglycemia: Handling High Blood Sugar
One of the hallmarks of type 1 diabetes is hyperglycemia, or high blood glucose . Theres a very good reason that glucose levels climb high in type 1 diabetes, and thats a lack of insulin. When the pancreas shuts down insulin production, blood glucose levels start to climb. If there is sufficient insulin in the bloodstream, say, from an insulin injection or insulin infusion from a pump, glucose levels return to a safe level. If there is little or no insulin available, the situation becomes serious, both in the short term and the long term.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Elevated Insulin
The following factors can increase your chance of having excess insulin levels in the blood
Early puberty Girls who attain early puberty are found to have elevated insulin levels.
Lack of sleep if happens on a regular basis can lead to insulin resistance which over time leads to the excess insulin production as a feedback mechanism.
The stress hormone Cortisol causes insulin resistance as one of the side effects, by blocking the insulin receptor which indirectly leads to excess insulin production.
The metabolic syndrome which is a combination of obesity, hypertension, and high blood cholesterol levels can lead to hyperinsulinemia .
Do Rotate The Place Where You Inject Insulin
Try not to inject your insulin in the same exact place on your body every time. This is to prevent a condition called lipodystrophy. In lipodystrophy, the fat under the skin either breaks down or builds up and forms lumps or indentations that can obstruct insulin absorption.
Instead, rotate injection sites. The best places for injecting insulin are your abdomen, front or side of thighs, upper buttocks, and upper arms due to their higher fat content. Each injection should be at least two inches from the previous site. Try not to inject too close to your belly button or into any moles or scars.
For mealtime insulin, its best to consistently use the same part of the body for each meal. For example, you can inject in your stomach prior to breakfast, your thigh prior to lunch, and your arm prior to dinner.
Clean your skin with cotton dipped in alcohol or an alcohol pad before you inject yourself. Wait 20 seconds for the area to dry before you inject. This helps avoid infections.
You should also wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before you handle any needles.
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Living With Insulin Resistance
Living with insulin resistance requires lifestyle changes as well as regular use of prescription medicine. You will have to be more careful in making meal and snack choices, reading labels, and maintaining a lower weight. You also will have to commit to regular exercise and take your medicines as prescribed.
What Does Insulin Do In The Body
Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar and is made by an organ known as the pancreas that sits behind your stomach. Your pancreas sends insulin into your bloodstream after you eat or if it detects that your blood sugar levels are high.
Once insulin enters your blood, it has 2 major jobs:
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How You Can Prevent Or Reverse Insulin Resistance
Losing weight, getting regular exercise, and not skimping on sleep can all help improve your insulin sensitivity. Dont rely on dieting or exercise alone: In one fascinating University of New Mexico School of Medicine study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, overweight people who lost 10% of their weight through diet plus exercise saw insulin sensitivity improve by an impressive 80%. Those who lost the same amount of weight through diet alone got a 38% increase. And those who simply got more exercise, but didnt lose much weight, saw almost no shift in their level of insulin resistance.15
Turn in on time, too. In a study presented at the 2015 meeting of the Obesity Society, researchers found that just one night of sleep deprivation boosted insulin resistance as much as eating high-fat foods for six months.16
Carbohydrates And Blood Sugar
When people eat a food containing carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks down the digestible ones into sugar, which enters the blood.
- As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that prompts cells to absorb blood sugar for energy or storage.
- As cells absorb blood sugar, levels in the bloodstream begin to fall.
- When this happens, the pancreas start making glucagon, a hormone that signals the liver to start releasing stored sugar.
- This interplay of insulin and glucagon ensure that cells throughout the body, and especially in the brain, have a steady supply of blood sugar.
Carbohydrate metabolism is important in the development of type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body cant make enough insulin or cant properly use the insulin it makes.
- Type 2 diabetes usually develops gradually over a number of years, beginning when muscle and other cells stop responding to insulin. This condition, known as insulin resistance, causes blood sugar and insulin levels to stay high long after eating. Over time, the heavy demands made on the insulin-making cells wears them out, and insulin production eventually stops.
Signs Of Insulin Resistance
Most people think about diabetics when they see the word insulin, but problems with insulin can occur in a number of different conditions, in people with normal blood sugar. You have probably heard of insulin resistance it is a significant health problem because it’s associated with an increased risk of obesity, heart attacks, polycystic ovarian syndrome, cancer and other serious conditions. People with insulin resistance usually have excessively high levels of this hormone, because it doesn’t work properly. We are seeing an increasing number of patients who have been diagnosed with insulin resistance by their own doctor, yet they don’t fully understand what this term means.
How would you know if your insulin level is too high?
There is a blood test that can measure your fasting insulin, but it isn’t always reliable and many doctors are not willing to order this test. This is a shame because elevated insulin is bad for your health and shortens your lifespan.
Insulin has many important roles in your body. People with too much insulin in their bloodstream are said to have insulin resistance, syndrome X, metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes. They are all interchangeable terms.
Knowing whether or not you have too high insulin is important because it can allow you to make some changes and avoid some serious health problems in the future. Luckily there are several tell tale signs or clues that your body gives you, alerting you to this problem.
The role of insulin in your body
What Happens If I Have Too Much Insulin
If a person accidentally injects more insulin than required, e.g. because they expend more energy or eat less food than they anticipated, cells will take in too much glucose from the blood. This leads to abnormally low blood glucose levels . The body reacts to hypoglycaemia by releasing stored glucose from the liver in an attempt to bring the levels back to normal. Low glucose levels in the blood can make a person feel ill.
The body mounts an initial ‘fight back’ response to hypoglycaemia through a specialised set of of nerves called the sympathetic nervous system. This causes palpitations, sweating, hunger, anxiety, tremor and pale complexion that usually warn the person about the low blood glucose level so this can be treated. However, if the initial blood glucose level is too low or if it is not treated promptly and continues to drop, the brain will be affected too because it depends almost entirely on glucose as a source of energy to function properly. This can cause dizziness, confusion, fits and even coma in severe cases.
Some drugs used for people with type 2 diabetes, including sulphonylureas and meglitinides , can also stimulate insulin production within the body and can also cause hypoglycaemia. The body responds in the same way as if excess insulin has been given by injection.
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Avoiding High Blood Sugar And Dka
No matter how well they take care of themselves, people with diabetes will sometimes have high blood sugar levels. But the best way to avoid problems is to keep your blood sugar levels as close to your desired range as possible, which means following your diabetes management plan. Checking your blood sugar levels several times a day will let you know when your blood sugar level is high. Then you can treat it and help prevent DKA from happening.
High blood sugar levels don’t always cause symptoms, and a person who isn’t testing regularly might be having blood sugar levels high enough to damage the body without even realizing it. Doctors may use the HbA1c test to find out if someone has been having high blood sugar levels over time, even if the person has not had obvious symptoms.
Here are some other tips for avoiding high blood sugar levels and preventing DKA:
- Try to eat all your meals and snacks on time and not skip any.
- Take the right amount of insulin.
- Check your blood sugar levels regularly and your ketone levels when your diabetes management plan recommends it.
- Stick to your diabetes management plan.
Can Insulin Resistance Be Prevented Or Avoided
You cannot prevent or avoid risk factors such as race, age, and a family medical history. You can take steps to reduce your insulin resistance by losing weight , exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet. Choose healthy carbohydrates. For example, eat whole grain bread instead of white bread, drink water instead of soda, and reduce your intake of sugary foods.
If you have or have had gestational diabetes, insulin resistance typically goes away after you give birth. However, you are at greater risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when you are older. That should be a warning to change your diet and lifestyle early so that you can delay it for as long as possible.
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Youre Forgetting Your Dose Because You Have Too Many Pills To Take Each Day
If youre missing doses because you just have too many pills to take each day and its difficult to keep track of them, see a doctor to discuss your options.
Your doctor may be able to prescribe a combination pill that contains multiple medications. This will reduce the number of pills you have to take each day.
It can be difficult to keep track of your medications, especially if you take multiple drugs to manage type 2 diabetes and other health conditions. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you remember to take your medication.
- Organize your medications in pill boxes with separate compartments for each day of the week.
- Set reminders on your smart phone or other smart device.
- Log your medication on a chart attached to a wall or your refrigerator, or on a phone app. Search your app store for medication reminders.
- Take your medications at the same time each day while you do another routine habit, like brushing your teeth, making breakfast, or at bedtime.
- Leave your pill box on the bathroom counter in plain sight.
- Ask for help from a friend or family member.
You should also ask your doctor if taking the oral diabetes medication with a meal will reduce GI side effects. Fewer side effects can help you stick to your treatment regimen.
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How Does Insulin Resistance Affect My Body
The development of insulin resistance typically increases insulin production so your body can maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Elevated levels of insulin can result in weight gain, which, in turn, makes insulin resistance worse.
Hyperinsulinemia is also associated with the following conditions:
You dont have to have all four of these features to have metabolic syndrome.
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Insulin Resistance Treatment And Prevention
You can take steps to reverse insulin resistance and prevent type 2 diabetes:
- Exercise. Go for at least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity 5 or more days a week. If you’re not active now, work up to that.
- Get to a healthy weight. If you’re not sure what you should weigh or how to reach a weight loss goal, ask your doctor. You may also want to talk with a nutritionist and a certified personal trainer.
- Eat a healthy diet. Think fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish, legumes, and other lean protein.
- Take medications. Your doctor may prescribe a medication called metformin to help keep your blood sugar in check.
What Is Insulin Shock
âInsulin shockâ is a common term for low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. It may also be called an insulin reaction.
The exact blood sugar level that leads to symptoms varies, but is generally less than 70 mg/dL. A low blood sugar level triggers your body to release the hormone epinephrine, also called adrenaline. That causes the early symptoms of insulin shock, which can come on quickly.
If you donât treat your dropping blood sugar ASAP, your brain will stop getting glucose and your symptoms will get worse. If levels stay low for too long, you can have a seizure or go into a diabetic coma.
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