Cookie Consent by Free Privacy Policy Generator Update cookies preferences
August 25, 2022

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is when your body cannot respond to the amount of insulin it produces. 

The pancreas produces insulin which helps process glucose (sugar) in the body, which provides energy, and stops the body from getting too much sugar because this can have knock-on effects on health.

Many people are unaware they are resistant to insulin until after a blood test to investigate for diabetes. Currently, an insulin blood test is not available on the NHS. By having a raised HbA1c, we can assume that you have insulin resistance. Everyone’s blood sugar is high from time to time, but if your blood sugar level is high constantly, you may be thirstier, urinate more, have blurry vision, be more tired, and have tingling on the soles of your feet.

Some risk factors cannot be avoided, but losing weight can help lower your risk of insulin resistance.

Being obese, inactive, and having a high-carb diet are prominent causes of insulin resistance. Some pregnant women can develop insulin resistance, known as gestational diabetes. Specific diseases are also linked to insulin resistance, including heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Factors which increase the risk of insulin resistance, and therefore prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, include:

  • Having a family member with diabetes
  • Non-active lifestyle
  • Race and ethnicity (Black, Hispanic, Indian and Asian people are more at risk)
  • Age (The older you are, the more at risk you are)
  • Using steroids
  • Taking specific medications
  • Smoking

Your doctor will take into consideration your symptoms, medical history, weight, and blood pressure, but insulin resistance can only be diagnosed from a blood test which tests your fasting blood sugar. Blood sugar levels over 100 mg/dL indicates insulin resistance.

The doctor may also test cholesterol levels using the blood sample, as high cholesterol and insulin resistance often go hand in hand.

It is recommended by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) to screen blood glucose of pregnant women after their 24th week of pregnancy, and adults aged 40 to 70 who are overweight and possibly at risk of heart disease.

Insulin resistance from gestational diabetes usually goes away after giving birth, yet it does put you at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. A previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes (GDM) carries a lifetime risk of progression to type 2 diabetes of up to 60%.

Although diets, losing weight, and being active can improve insulin resistance, some people may require medicine as well, depending on their health and lifestyle requirements. Insulin via a pump or daily injections may be required if insulin resistance leads to type 2 diabetes. 

Dealing with insulin resistance will require lifestyle changes as well as taking prescribed medicines, such as making healthier food choices, checking labels, and maintaining a lower weight by frequently exercising.

Join 470,000 people using the Low Carb Program
Members with prediabetes achieve weight loss, improved HbA1c, reduced medications and prediabetes remission.

Find support from people with prediabetes

Join the free community and speak to other people who manage and may have reversed prediabetes.