When hormone is secreted from the pancreas insulin plays a major role in regulating the blood glucose levels in the body. Insulin acts upon the liver, muscle cells and fat cells of the body thereby helping carry glucose to the cells. Any issue related to insulin would disrupt the normal functions of the liver, muscle cells and fatty cells. Therefore, today’s Heath Capsule will focus on what insulin resistance is and how it impacts on one’s health.
Understanding the condition
“Insulin resistance can be defined as a condition where the muscle cells of the liver and fat cells fail to respond well to insulin; resulting in the inability to use glucose in the blood for energy properly” said Consultant Physician and Diabetologist at the Colombo National Eye Hospital Dr. Waruna Gunathilake. When the blood sugar level is high it becomes a stimulus to release insulin into the blood. However, if the insulin is not sufficient the pancreas will continue to create more insulin. If the muscle cells or fat cells continue resisting the insulin there would be a high amount of blood glucose as well as insulin in the body overtime. Eventually, when the pancreas fails to function well (resulting in a lower rate of insulin production), the blood sugar levels will start to spike up again. This may even lead to Type 2 Diabetes in the future.
Conditions/causes associated with insulin resistance are polycystic ovary syndrome, sedentary lifestyle and obesity. Once a patient develops insulin resistance the fat metabolism in the body also may get disrupted, leading to visceral obesity/ abdominal obesity” added
Potential health complications
“Insulin resistance can be diagnosed by conducting a fasting blood sugar test. If the fasting blood sugar test is between 100 - 125 mg/dL, it’s considered pre diabetic. If the HbA1c test is around 5.9% , that is another indication of insulin resistance. A normal fasting blood sugar reading will be less than 99 mg/dL. If someone has a blood sugar level more than 126mg/dL, then he/ she will be diagnosed as diabetic. If a male has a waist line beyond forty inches and a female has a waist line beyond 35 inches, they can be patients prone to insulin resistance” he explained.
There could be certain health complications that may rise due to insulin resistance being a risk factor. People with insulin resistance are more liable to develop cardiovascular problems, issues relating to fat metabolism including high cholesterol and high triglycerides. Also, one may develop high uric acid levels in the blood, obesity, high blood pressure and stroke. Fatty liver is another very common problem observed in people with insulin resistance. Patients with insulin resistance are also vulnerable to develop Type 2 diabetes later on.
Prevention and Treatment
Avoid fatty foods; especially meals with highly refined carbohydrates. Instead, try to include a diet rich in more fibre. Avoid a sedentary lifestyle and engage in more activities. Try to engage in regular exercises.
If an individual is suffering with insulin resistance first the associated root causes of the condition needs to be addressed - be it obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, diet and etc. “We encourage patients to lower the chances of insulin resistance by practising good health habits such as a healthy diet, regular exercises and sometimes we can prescribe Metformin to the patient to help control the situation. It’s crucial to treat/reverse insulin resistance to prevent the rise of any health complication associated with it ”
Dr. Gunathilake concluded.