By Lauren Denos: 1/11/2015 (Concerns)


In the last article in this series we looked at what insulin resistance is, but how do we develop Insulin Resistance and what puts us at greater risk?

Many things can contribute to the possibility of developing insulin resistance. It is worth it to get your blood sugar tested. Remember around 1 in 4 people have some level of insulin resistance and do not even know it. Below we will discuss what can increases your risks for developing this issue, and then we will look at possible symptoms.

Some of the things that put you at higher risk are:

Having too much extra fat on your body can increase your risks for developing insulin resistance. In a study done by Tracey McLaughlin, MD, it showed that people currently with insulin resistance. When they gained an extra 5-6 pounds, their insulin resistance increased by 46% on average – 46% with only a 5lb gain! That is a big deal. This lets us know what a integrative role fat has in increasing our risks with this issue. To give you an idea of what body fat range a healthy adult should be in, take a look at this chart from the American Counsel on Exercise. Most people will want to range in the Fitness to average category. The athlete category will be too low for most people (unless you are an athlete). Obviously, the obese category we want to stay away from as well. That is where this risk factors come in. Where you hold the fat can make a difference as well. Apparently more weight around the midsection can put you at a greater risk.

Evidently, if you eat an abundance of carbohydrates and sugars you are going to put yourself at a higher risk. The more sugar is flooding into your system, the more insulin your body has to produce. This can tax the pancreas, and is too much for your system in the first place.

You could be at a higher risk if you are consuming saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fats are found in animal products like that great marbled rib eye steak, bacon, coconut, cheese, butter, cream, palm oil, etc. Now many people will get up in arms and say that coconut oil and butter are good for us. I am not disagreeing; I am merely letting you know what foods have saturated fats in them. Trans fats such as hydrogenated oils, margarine and shortening. Trans fats are in many fast foods and pre-packaged foods.

You are also at a higher risk if you are not getting enough nutrient-dense food in. For instance, vegetables of various colors, salads and good quality greens in general.

Other factors to keep in mind:

If you have a high level of LDL's and/or a low level of HDL's

If you have elevated blood pressure, here is a chart to see where a normal level is and when you are getting into the hypertension stages.

ACE Body Fat % Chart
Description Women Men
Essential Fat 10-13% 2-5%
Athletes 14-20% 6-13%
Fitness 21-24% 14-17%
Average 25-31% 18-24%
Obese 32%+ 25%+

Hypo or hyperglycemia. This is probably an obvious one, too. This is when your blood sugar is unstable. In other words, either too high Hyperglycemia or too low Hypoglycemia. Many people can tell they have this issue since they can tend to get really shaky and weak if they do not eat at regular scheduled intervals.

If there is a family history of diabetes.

If you lead a sedentary lifestyle. If you have a desk job, like many Americans have, and do not get out for regular exercise after work.

If you have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

If you have Acanthosis, which is dark patches of skin. This occurs most often in dark patches on the neck and sometimes in dark rings around the neck.

Smoking. This is no surprise. We all know smoking is not good for us. Not only is it damaging to our lungs, but it also weakens many systems in our bodies.

If you are over 45. The older we get, the more our systems are taxed and the higher our risk factors can become. According to the Cederquist Medical Center - We are at a greater risk of developing IR as we age. Statistically speaking, 47% of us adults over the age of 50 have insulin resistance.

Symptoms you may show with insulin resistance

  • Craving sugars and/or starches
  • Lack of hunger in the morning
  • Feeling weak or shaky if you do not eat often enough
  • Late night hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Bloating
  • Weight gain
  • Nausea
  • Depression or mood swings

If you show these signs it does not mean that you have insulin resistance, it just means you should go to your doctor and get your blood sugar tested. Remember that many health issues can have similar symptoms. Sometimes you will see no outward signs. This can be for many reasons, one of which people do not pay enough attention to what their bodies are telling them.

Now that you understand many of the risk factors and symptoms, I am sure you are interested in learning what you can do to turn this around or to reduce your risk of developing it. Well in the next couple articles in this series we will be looking at exercise, lifestyle habits and nutrition to combat insulin resistance. Be on the lookout for the next article in this series.



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