Insulin is an essential hormone produced by special cells in the pancreas and has many functions within the body, most of which are concerned with the metabolism of carbohydrates (sugars and starches), lipids (fats), and proteins. Insulin also regulates growth. Insulin is critical for the body's use of glucose as energy. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body's cells become resistant to the effects of insulin. That is, the normal response to a given amount of insulin is reduced. As a result, higher levels of insulin are needed in order for insulin to have its proper effects. So, the pancreas compensates by trying to produce more insulin. This resistance occurs in response to the body's own insulin (endogenous) or when insulin is administered by injection (exogenous). With insulin resistance, the pancreas produces more and more insulin until the pancreas can no longer produce sufficient insulin for the body's demands, then blood sugar rises. Insulin resistance is thus a risk factor for development of diabetes and heart disease.
The mainstay of treatment is weight loss (healthy balanced diet) PLUS exercise, both have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. If you consume alcohol, limit this. If you smoke, try to stop.
Meds that can be used (AFTER consulting a specialist) include metformin and the thiazolidinediones. Metformin glucose output from the liver and increases the uptake in the peripheral tissues (muscle and fat cells). Metformin is a major drug in the treatment of patients who are obese and have type 2 diabetes. The drug enhances weight reduction and improves lipid profile. Thiazolidinediones (type of drugs used to treat diabetes type 2) lower plasma insulin levels and treat type 2 diabetes associated with insulin resistance.
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It is recommended that all individuals see a Family Doctor for a full medical examination annually. Adults should get their blood pressure checked (US Preventive Task Force), a flu vaccine (CDC) and more each year.