Though you may not be living with
"People often don't realize that insulin resistance can develop into diabetes," said Dawn Sherr, a diabetes educator for the American Association of Diabetes Educators. "And if they're not aware they're insulin resistant, they don't know what steps they can take to prevent it."
Insulin resistance is a fuzzy, often misunderstood concept. Here, we answer five common questions.
Q: How does the body become resistant to insulin?
A: When you eat, food is broken down into glucose to be used for energy. Insulin, a hormone produced in the
Eventually, the overworked pancreas breaks down. Blood sugar levels rise even further, causing pre-diabetes and setting the stage for Type 2 diabetes. "Most people think of diabetes as high blood sugar caused by too little insulin," said Scheiner, the author of "Think Like a Pancreas. "But the insulin resistance is really the root cause of almost all cases of Type 2 diabetes.
Q: What is pre-diabetes?
A: The body's cells are insulin resistant; the levels of glucose in the blood are higher than normal, and the pancreas can't make enough insulin to compensate. Recent research suggests long-term damage to the body, especially the
Q: How is pre-diabetes detected?
A: A fasting blood glucose panel can pick up pre-diabetes; high blood sugar indicates that insulin resistance is present. Another blood test called c-peptide can also estimate the body's insulin production, said Scheiner. "If the c-peptide is elevated, the pancreas is secreting excessive amounts of insulin in an effort to overcome the insulin resistance," he said.
A: It's a risk factor. Excess body fat — particularly around the middle — a sedentary lifestyle, a
Q: What other problems are related to insulin resistance?
A: People with insulin resistance are more likely to have too much LDL or "bad" cholesterol, not enough HDL or "good" cholesterol and high triglycerides, which causes hardening of the arteries.
Q: Can insulin resistance and pre-diabetes be reversed?
A: Yes. Losing weight can help because less fat means "fewer