A resistance to the hormone insulin, resulting in increasing blood sugar. The hormone insulin helps control the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. With insulin resistance, the body’s cells don’t respond normally to insulin. Glucose can’t enter the cells as easily, so it builds up in the blood. This can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.

Classic diabetes symptoms include:

  • extreme thirst or hunger
  • feeling hungry even after a meal
  • increased urination
  • tingling sensations in hands or feet
  • feeling more tired than usual
  • frequent infections
  • evidence of high blood sugar levels in blood work

Causes Of Insulin Resistance

  • Excess body fat: Scientists believe obesity, especially excess fat in your belly and around your organs, is a primary cause of insulin resistance. Studies have shown that belly fat makes hormones and other substances that can contribute to long-term inflammation in your body. This inflammation may play a role in insulin resistance
  • Physical inactivity: Physical activity makes your body more sensitive to insulin and builds muscle that can absorb blood glucose. A lack of physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle are associated with weight gain, which can also contribute to insulin resistance.
  • Diet: A diet of highly processed, high-carbohydrate foods and saturated fats has been linked to insulin resistance. Your body digests highly processed, high-carbohydrate foods very quickly, which causes your blood sugar to spike. This puts extra stress on your pancreas to produce a lot of insulin, which, over time, can lead to insulin resistance.
  • Certain medications: Certain medications can cause insulin resistance, including steroids, some blood pressure medications, certain HIV treatments and some psychiatric medications.

Testing insulin resistance

A1C test

One way to diagnose prediabetes or diabetes is with an A1C test. This test measures your average blood sugar over the previous 2 to 3 months.

  • An A1C under 5.7 percent is considered normal.
  • An A1C between 5.7 and 6.4 percent is diagnostic for prediabetes.
  • An A1C equal to or above 6.5 percent is diagnostic for diabetes.

Fasting blood glucose test

A fasting blood glucose test will show your fasting blood sugar level. You’d have this test done after not eating or drinking for at least 8 hours.

  • Fasting blood sugar levels under 100 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dL) are considered normal.
  • Levels between 100 and 125 mg/dL indicate prediabetes.
  • Levels equal to or greater than 126 mg/dL are diagnostic for diabetes.

Glucose tolerance testing

A 2-hour test may be another way to diagnose prediabetes or diabetes. Your blood glucose level will be determined before this test begins.

  • A blood sugar level of less than 140 mg/dL after 2 hours is considered normal.
  • A result between 140 mg/dL and 199 mg/dL is considered prediabetes.
  • A blood sugar level of 200mg/dL or higher is considered diabetes.



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