Insulin resistance occurs when cells in the liver and muscles respond poorly to insulin and cannot use glucose from the blood for energy production. This causes the pancreas to make more insulin, and the blood sugar levels become elevated over time.
Insulin resistance syndrome is a collective name for health problems like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type II diabetes and obesity. These conditions affect many people and are also known as metabolic syndrome.
In most cases, insulin resistance causes no symptoms. If you have a lot of belly fat or are overweight, you will likely have a degree of insulin resistance. Low HDL cholesterol and high blood triglycerides (fats in the blood) often affect people with insulin resistance.
Sometimes, insulin resistance may cause some body parts to become darker, like the knuckles, neck, armpits, knees and elbows. This condition is called acanthosis nigricans.
Insulin resistance may not cause symptoms, but a blood test checking your blood sugar levels can diagnose the condition.
You may not know you have most other conditions associated with insulin resistance (high triglycerides, low HDL levels, high blood pressure) without consulting a doctor and undergoing some tests.
Some signs of insulin resistance are:
A fasting glucose test measures the blood sugar levels after eight hours without calorie consumption. The normal fasting blood glucose level is 99mg/dL or lower. People with a fasting glucose level of 100 – 125mg/dL are likely insulin resistant but haven’t developed diabetes, while above 126mg/dL indicate diabetes.
OGTT is a blood test that checks how your body processes sugar. The test starts with a fasting glucose test, and then you will drink 75mg of glucose solution (the equivalent of a large-size Coke at a fast food restaurant) and have another blood test after two hours.
Your two-hour test reading should be 139mg/dL or lower. A Reading below 120mg/dL is ideal, but 140 – 199mg/dL means your body isn’t processing sugar as it should, indicating insulin resistance. Readings of 200mg/dL indicate diabetes.
If you have borderline results, your doctor may recommend a three-hour OGTT where you will take a 100mg sugar drink and test your blood after one, two and three hours. This test will give more detailed information on how your body processes sugar.
The treatment for insulin resistance usually involves changing your lifestyle and diet. The dietary and lifestyle changes include regular moderate-intensity physical activity, losing weight and increasing dietary fibre intake to increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin and lower blood insulin levels.
Exercise and weight loss can:
If your doctor diagnoses insulin resistance, ensure you work with your doctor and other medical professionals to develop a personalised treatment plan and monitor the effectiveness of your plan. Drug treatments may also help control existing underlying diseases and conditions associated with insulin resistance.
Insulin is a vital hormone that helps glucose uptake in the body to produce energy. If you are insulin resistant, your body produces insulin but can’t use it properly. Insulin resistance testing will help check how your body uses insulin, which may indicate if you are developing type II diabetes.
Insulin resistance testing is available at Blood London. Feel free to visit our clinic for your insulin resistance tests or contact us at 020 71830244 for more information on insulin resistance testing.
Select the test that you would like to undergo
Go to the Harley Street clinic for your blood draw and pay for your test in person
As soon as the results are ready, the will be sent to you by your chosen method