Do You Have Undiagnosed Insulin Resistance?

Do You Have Undiagnosed Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance is a pervasive problem that often precedes the appearance of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. However, many people fail to recognize that they are progressing towards those serious conditions until they are diagnosed. So, when should you become concerned that you might have insulin resistance?

What are the physical manifestations of insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance leaves several telltale signs:

  1. Growth of skin tags. Skin tags are benign growths that vary in size and form on the body or face — they typically appear on underarms, under breasts, or on the neck or groin. Often, they are slightly darker than the surrounding skin, and may be wrinkled or smooth. They become more common with age (like insulin resistance) 
  2. Acanthosis nigricans (AN) — a darkening and change in texture of patches of skin, making the skin smoother
  3. Menstrual irregularities and excess body hair in women
  4. Unexplained weight gain without increased caloric intake, especially an increase in waist measurement, which can be indicative of increased visceral fat storage

Your annual physical exam with your primary care doctor can reveal whether you are afflicted with any diagnostic criteria associated with increased risk of insulin resistance, including:

  • Hypertension (Abnormally high blood pressure —130/85 mm Hg or higher).
  • Elevated blood glucose (The sugars in your blood should have a fasting level of 110-126 mg/dL).
  • High LDL cholesterol or elevated triglycerides (LDL is “bad” cholesterol, a fatty substance which can be harmful when it builds up in your arteries. Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the human body).
  • Infertility
  • Sleep apnea

If you are older, sedentary, have a family history of type 2 diabetes, or have three or more of these symptoms,you should speak with your healthcare provider about insulin resistance.

What can I do if I find out I am insulin resistant?

  1. Lose weight. Establish a BMI below 25. Eat a diet with 35% of calories coming from healthy fats.  Choose foods with a high satiety and nutrient density to calorie ratio. Nourishing soups, high-fiber foods (beans, whole grains, and vegetables), and whole eggs (in moderation) are suitable choices. Recent research suggests that wholegrain rye bread may contain compounds that turn off genes causing diabetes.
  2. Increase physical activity. Decrease sitting as much as is practical and walk whenever possible. HIIT— alternating between short bursts of intense cardiovascular exercise and  brief recovery periods — is effective against insulin resistance.
  3. Strength training and metabolic conditioning workouts are also extremely effective.
  4. Yoga and progressive muscle relaxation, and stress reduction in general, may help reduce insulin resistance.
  5. Specific dietary interventions and supplements, such as reducing systemic inflammation can mitigate insulin resistance,: The following dietary supplements are suggested:
  • Fish oil improves insulin sensitivity and reduces inflammation.
  • Increase your magnesium intake to the optimum of 750 mg per day.
  • Take a chromium supplement.
  • Eat antioxidant-rich foods and add cinnamon to your daily diet.
  • Add turmeric to foods and take a curcumin supplement.
  • Use alpha-lipoic acid supplements.
  • Avoid processed carbohydrates. Eat unprocessed, whole foods, and make sure to emphasize low glycemic index carbohydrates. No late-night snacking!

Insulin resistance is tough to beat, but you can do it. Better yet, act preemptively and never let it gain a foothold by following these guidelines.

 

Sources:

Pre-Diabetes: Signs and Symptoms of Insulin Resistance

Medscape: Insulin Resistance Differential Diagnoses

Food and Health: Diet to Prevent and Reverse Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes

Huffington Post: 5 Steps To Reversing Type 2 Diabetes And Insulin Resistance