Blog Home

What You Need to Know About Insulin Resistance

Medical Content Writer
Arzu Cetinkaya Medical Content Writer
What You Need to Know About Insulin Resistance

What is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance is defined as the inability to exert its biological effects despite the presence of insulin in the circulation. Cells in the muscles, fat and liver of the human body cannot react correctly to insulin and therefore the glucose in the blood cannot be used as energy.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and regulates blood sugar levels. When body cells resist insulin, the pancreas produces more insulin to compensate and over time the blood sugar rises. If left untreated, insulin resistance can cause health problems such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and hypertension.

What Are The Symptoms of Insulin Resistance

  • Sleepiness after meals
  • Constant desire to consume carbohydrates
  • Frequent and rapid hunger
  • Tremors in hands and feet
  • Fat, especially around the waist
  • Rapid weight gain and difficulty in weight loss
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Weakness, fatigue
  • Feeling thirsty
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Darkening of the skin

How Is Insulin Resistance Diagnosed?

In addition to overweight (≥25 BMI) and obesity (≥30 BMI), high waist circumference (≥ 88 cm in women, ≥ 102 cm in men) and blood pressure measurement, fasting blood sugar, HbA1c (average blood sugar level in the last 2-3 months) and blood lipids are evaluated by your doctor.

Then, using your fasting blood sugar and fasting insulin value, the insulin resistance value called HOMA-IR is calculated. If your HOMA-IR value is 2.5 and above, you have insulin resistance.

HOMA-IR = Fasting Blood sugar X Fasting Insulin / 405

Insulin resistance is a treatable disease. By making certain changes in your lifestyle, you can reverse insulin resistance and prevent type 2 diabetes.

How to Reverse Insulin Resistance

  • If you do not have an active lifestyle, you can start exercising with fast-paced walks for a minimum of 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Over time, you can also include resistance exercises in your routine.
  • You should prefer foods that do not raise your blood sugar quickly, have a low glycaemic index and are high in fibre. You should definitely include legumes, vegetables and fruits in your diet.
  • When cooking foods, you should turn to healthier options such as baking and grilling instead of unhealthy methods such as frying and roasting.
  • You should avoid consumption of packaged products.
  • You should avoid processed meats.
  • You should definitely include foods containing omega-3 fatty acids such as fish, walnuts and flaxseed in your diet.
  • A regular night’s sleep of 7-8 hours on average is essential for maintaining your body functions in good health.

If insulin resistance is left untreated, it may lead to diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart attack, stroke, kidney, eye, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. For this reason, you should adopt an active lifestyle and pay attention to a healthy diet.