Insulin resistance can be sneaky to detect and most people have little or no symptoms until it’s too late. Unfortunately, this condition affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when cells in the body become less responsive to the hormone insulin, which is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. While insulin resistance often develops gradually, its impact on overall health can be significant if left unaddressed. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of insulin resistance is crucial for early detection and intervention. Let’s take a look at the common signs that may indicate the presence of insulin resistance.
One of the early warning signs of insulin resistance is persistent fatigue, feeling tired even after a full night’s sleep. As cells become resistant to insulin, glucose struggles to enter the cells to provide energy. Consequently, the body’s cells may not receive an adequate supply of glucose, leading to feelings of exhaustion and fatigue. Some do start to notice fatigue is more pronounced after eating, which points directly to a blood sugar imbalance.
Frequent Urination and Increased Thirst
Insulin resistance can cause a spike in blood sugar levels. In response, the kidneys work harder to filter and excrete the excess glucose, leading to increased urination. As a result, individuals with insulin resistance may experience frequent trips to the bathroom. This excessive urination can also trigger increased thirst as the body attempts to replenish lost fluids.
Weight Gain, Particularly around the Abdomen
Insulin resistance can contribute to weight gain, especially around the abdomen. Elevated insulin levels promote the storage of fat in the abdominal area, which is linked to an increased risk of various health conditions, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. If you notice unexplained weight gain, particularly in the midsection, it could be due to insulin resistance.
Cravings for Sugary and High-Carb Foods
People with insulin resistance often experience intense cravings for sugary and high-carbohydrate foods. These cravings are triggered by the body’s attempt to compensate for the impaired glucose uptake into the cells. However, consuming excessive amounts of sugary and refined carbohydrate-rich foods can further exacerbate insulin resistance, creating a vicious cycle. Unraveling the signs of insulin resistance can help you identify what foods you are eating and how they are linked to the symptoms you are experiencing.
Skin Issues and Darkened Patches
Insulin resistance can manifest on the skin in various ways. One common skin issue associated with insulin resistance is acanthosis nigricans, characterized by darkened and thickened patches of skin, typically on the neck, armpits, groin, and other skin folds. These changes occur due to insulin’s stimulatory effect on skin cells, leading to an overproduction of pigment. Acanthosis nigricans is a sign of more severe insulin resistance.
High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels
Insulin resistance is closely associated with other metabolic abnormalities, such as high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels. Over time, uncontrolled insulin resistance can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Regular monitoring of blood pressure and cholesterol levels is essential for individuals with insulin resistance.
What you can do:
Balancing blood sugar is the number one way to reverse insulin resistance…And, you don’t need medication to do so. There are some supplements that have been beneficial in restoring the sensitivity of the receptors. However, stabilizing blood sugar through dietary adjustments is going to be key. Monitor blood sugar with every meal (generally 45-60 minutes after a meal and again at the 2 hour mark). Remove foods that create spikes of more than 30 points while making sure to incorporate plenty of protein and healthy fats. Avoid sugary drinks, snacks and refined carbohydrates and opt for healthier carbs found in fruits and vegetables. The added fiber also helps with blood sugar regulation.
Left unchecked, insulin resistance can lead to a long list of health issues including: metabolic syndrome (High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Obesity) cardiovascular disease, stroke, and fatty liver disease. It has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), Cushing’s, and mental illnesses.
Unraveling and recognizing the signs of insulin resistance is crucial for early intervention. If you experience persistent fatigue, frequent urination, increased thirst, unexplained weight gain, intense cravings for sugary foods, skin issues, or have elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels, it is time to take a deeper look.