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Insulin Resistance, Pre-diabetes, Diabetes: What Does It All Mean? 

For millions of people, insulin resistance, prediabetes, and diabetes are conditions they have dealt with for years. But what does it mean to be insulin resistant? Is insulin resistance the same as prediabetes? Can you prevent prediabetes from becoming diabetes? We will get into each one of these questions, discuss the conditions, and learn how to prevent them. 

What is insulin resistance? 

Insulin resistance can occur when the body doesn’t respond or becomes resistant to insulin, the hormone that maintains the body’s blood glucose (sugar) level, thereby leaving your body unable to convert glucose into energy. Although the exact cause of insulin resistance is not fully understood, a primary cause is thought to be obesity. Other factors include chronic stress, pregnancy, high blood pressure, prior cases of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy), a sedentary lifestyle with low physical activity, even those with sleep issues. If left untreated, insulin resistance often causes prediabetes and puts you at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

In America, millions of people are affected by insulin resistance and it can be a temporary or chronic condition, but good news! It is treatable. If you develop insulin resistance, it is important to take the necessary steps to treat and correct the condition before it progresses further. 

“But how can I prevent or reverse insulin resistance?” 

Eat more optimal: Avoid eating excessive amounts of processed carbohydrates (which stimulate excess insulin production) and less sugar, red meats and processed starches. Swap these items for more whole foods including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish and poultry. 

Physical activity: Getting regular amounts of moderate-intensity physical activity helps increase glucose energy usage and improve muscle insulin sensitivity. A single session of moderate-intensity exercise can increase glucose uptake by at least 40%. 

Losing excess weight: One study revealed that losing 7% of your excess weight can reduce the onset of type 2 diabetes by 58%.

Prediabetes 

Prediabetes is caused by higher levels of glucose, but not high enough to be considered in the diabetic range. Another major difference between prediabetes and diabetes (generally referred to as Type 2) is with prediabetes, you still have a chance to reverse it. The role type 2 plays on the body also poses a greater risk of infections, as well as potentially affecting vision, urination, and appetite. 

Prediabetes may not present symptoms, which is why you should consider getting your blood sugar checked if you have/are the following: 

● over 45 years old 

● have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) 

● have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes 

● a history of gestational diabetes 

● low to no physical activity 

● excess of visceral fat, obesity (fat around the organs and intestines as well as stomach fat) 

Genetically speaking, there are certain groups of people that are more predisposed than others when it comes to diabetes. These groups include: 

➔ African Americans 

➔ Hispanic/Latinx 

➔ Native Americans 

➔ Pacific Islanders 

➔ Asian Americans 

Testing for prediabetes is done through a series of blood tests including a FPG test (fasting plasma glucose), a random plasma glucose (RPG), or A1C test, that measure how well sugar is being removed from your blood. 

Treatment for prediabetes can be a combination of diet changes, exercise regimens, or a change in medication. 

Diabetes: The Ultimate Life Changer 

Not to be confused with type 1 diabetes, in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys insulin producing cells, diabetes mellitus, or type 2 occurs when the body isn’t using the insulin being produced and is under stress to produce more. People that have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are generally 4 to 7 years into having the disease, either because they are asymptomatic or the symptoms are extremely minor and go unnoticed. Lack of access to healthcare can also be a major contributing factor.

Unfortunately, Type 2 can cause severe damage to your cardiovascular system, kidney function, skin and eyes, which is why those who are asymptomatic are often most at risk. Testing regularly for diabetes is one of the most important measures you can take. 

But if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, hope is NOT lost. Although there is no cure for type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes can be managed and/or reversed with lifestyle changes that include diet and exercise.  Although prevention is still the best method, millions of people are living happy, relatively normal lives while managing and maintaining their diabetes diagnosis. 

Don’t let your diagnosis get you down. There are ways to manage your diabetes and live an optimal life. Schedule a free consultation with me today to learn more!

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