Insulin Resistance - Overview
Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. After being synthesized, insulin is released into the blood stream where it regulates the blood sugar levels.
Insulin resistance is a condition in which body cells become resistant to the very effects of insulin. This may cause increased production of insulin so that the desirable effects can be achieved. The resistance may be present in case of types of insulin, the one produced by the body and the one taken via injections.
Even though there are definitely several causes of insulin resistance, the genetic factor is considered the most important contributor to the onset of insulin resistance. Apart from genetic predisposition, certain medications may cause insulin resistance. The problem can be also associated with the metabolic syndrome, obesity, pregnancy, infections or severe illnesses and stress.
Insulin Resistance - Treatment
The goal of insulin resistance treatment is to keep the blood sugar levels in check even though the body cells are resistant to all metabolic effects of insulin. The treatment basically includes diet, exercise and certain medications.
Initial treatment for insulin resistance is proper diet. A restricted diet, rich in certain fruits and vegetables is a must. Once the diet is altered (particularly if the intake of carbohydrates is brought under control) the production of insulin is reduced. It is essential to avoid any kind of foods that leads to rapid increase in blood sugar levels. These foods include white bread, spaghetti, macaroni, bagels, rolls, crackers, cookies and pretzels, white rice and all the products that contain sugar. The previously mentioned products are supposed to be replaced with plenty of vegetables, whole grain products, beans, seeds and nuts. This way the blood sugar levels will increase gradually allowing the produced insulin to fulfill its function properly.
Exercising is another way of treating insulin resistance. Regular exercise leads to weight loss and this is highly necessary for obese people suffering from insulin resistance. Furthermore, there are direct effects of the exercises. They increase the rate at which glucose in the blood is taken up by the cells. So, exercises do improve sensitivity of the body cells to insulin.
And finally, there are certain medications that are prescribed in case of insulin resistance. Metformin and thiazolidinediones are medications normally prescribed to patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. Still, they may help people with insulin resistance. However, these medications are not magical and the best effects regarding insulin resistance are achieved with a combination of proper diet and exercises.