Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes

Insulin resistance may be what makes you a borderline diabetic. If you find out what it is, you will know how to stop it and avoid type 2 diabetes.

Resistance to insulin begins with the metabolic syndrome. But if you are borderline diabetic you can still halt the progression to diabetes.

Why doesn't that happen more often? Because the warning signs will slip right by you if you do not know what to look for.

This is the problem with everything that has to do with type 2 diabetes. Symptoms can be ignored for a very long time.

If your pancreas is damaged by disease or trauma, type 1 diabetes happens fast. However, the development of type 2 is a slow process that takes years.

The Cause Is Not Only Obesity

Obesity is not proof of diabetes. Some people develop type 2 diabetes without being obese.

But the more over your ideal weight you are, the more likely borderline diabetes becomes. Obesity and type 2 diabetes are linked at the metabolic syndrome.

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However, metabolic syndrome is made up of several symptoms, and you need all four (or five) to be prediabetic. If you are overweight and sedentary, you already have two of them.

The others are high blood pressure, high bad cholesterol and high triglycerides. Diabetes that develops without those symptoms is more likely to be adult onset type 1 diabetes.

If you have metabolic syndrome and a history of diabetes in any close family member, you probably have insulin resistance whether you know it or not.

Add in smoking, a history of gestational diabetes (high blood sugar during pregnancy) or a stroke, and those are red flags. You could be prediabetic.

How You Become Insulin Resistant

How does your body become resistant to insulin? There is a connection with too much stored fat in and around your pancreas and liver. This can happen without obesity.

But it is the reason that losing weight reduces your resistance to insulin. About 50% of the time after some weight loss it completely goes away.

If your cells resist the insulin hormone, they have no way to take in glucose from your blood. And that is the cause of high blood sugar.

What It Does to YOU

Many of the complications of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes stem from the extra sugar in your blood and the damage it causes to arteries and nerves. This damage shows up first in the tiny capillaries of your fingers, toes and eyes.

Another problem with insulin resistance is the build-up of insulin in your bloodstream. It is called hyperinsulinemia, and this unused insulin is the cause of immune reactions.

Over time the inflammation causes all kinds of autoimmune disorders. The process is slow so damage is not obvious for a while.

You know high blood sugar and high levels of insulin are the result of insulin resistance and that you won't see damage for a long time. So what should you do?

What You Can Do About It

The sooner you start getting blood sugar tests, the better your chance of avoiding damage from insulin resistance. You can ask for a simple fingerstick blood sugar test. Even better is the glucose tolerance test.

When you drink the sugary syrup after fasting all night, your hourly blood tests will show how you react to glucose. You can know beyond doubt whether you have prediabetes or if you've become a type 2 diabetic.

Borderline diabetes has few symptoms you can see, but after years of undiagnosed high blood sugar you may see serious things like diabetic ketoacidosis and strokes.

Fatigue, excessive urination, feeling thirsty all the time, fruity breath, sudden weight gain or weight loss - these are warning signs that need your attention.

Get help quickly, because diabetic coma is one result of long term high blood sugar.

How to Avoid It

You can avoid insulin resistance by removing yourself from the metabolic syndrome. Become active and lose some weight. Even a little makes a big difference.

Change what you eat by using more whole foods with fiber and fewer high glycemic foods.

You will see your blood pressure and triglycerides return to normal. Of course, if you smoke it would help to find a way to stop.

But if you find out you failed to catch it in time and you're a type 2 diabetic, there's a lot of help waiting for you. It's not going to be the end of your life, and it does not have to define who you are now.

  • "Fall seven times, get up eight."

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