Insulin resistance relates to a condition in which normal insulin secretion in the body is inadequate to generate the required response to the hormone. Insulin response from muscle mass, fat, and liver cells is very important to regulate blood glucose levels.
Insulin resistance was first studied and documented in detail by Prof. Wilhelm Falta, in 1931. The condition was confirmed at the University College Hospital Medical Center in London, by Sir Harold Percival Himsworth in 1936. Observations revealed that in the case of normal metabolism, after every meal, insulin is released from the pancreatic beta cells. This action initiates the absorption of glucose by the body’s insulin-sensitive tissues, like those in the muscles and adipose. This helps regulate the blood glucose levels at the optimum 5 mmol/L (90 mg/dL). In the case of an insulin-resistant person, the normal levels do not trigger this action, and hence, the blood glucose levels remain high. This results in the pancreas stimulating the release of additional insulin, that further causes adverse biological effects.
When fat and liver cell response to insulin in the body is reduced, elevated hydrolysis of triglycerides either increase insulin sensitivity in the body, or generate additional insulin. Subsequently, the lipids in the muscle and fat cells elevate the fatty acids in the blood plasma, and trigger reduced glucose uptake. This condition in the liver cells triggers impaired glycogen synthesis, and a complete breakdown on the essential suppression of glucose production. This results in high blood fatty acid levels, and subsequently, the development of diabetes mellitus. Research reveals that it is primarily responsible for the onslaught of metabolic syndrome and other blood glucose complications.
Signs and Symptoms
- Inability to focus on tasks at hand
- Increased blood sugar levels
- Increased blood triglyceride levels
- Increased blood pressure
- Intestinal swelling
- Intestinal bloating
- Weight gain
Insulin resistance (IR) is triggered by metabolic syndromes, body tissue inflammation, visceral adiposity, hypertension, hyperglycemia, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, impaired fibrinolysis, increased cytokine levels, and poor intracellular Mg concentrations. The other causes of the onslaught include obesity, hormonal change during pregnancy, organ infection or severe illness, and indiscriminate use of steroids.
Conditions Associated with IR
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Coronary artery disease
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Skin lesions, such as those that manifest in the onslaught of acanthosis nigricans and axilla
- Reproductive abnormalities, especially in the case of women
- Growth abnormalities
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
- Fasting serum insulin level test.
- Glucose tolerance test
- Hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp test
- Glucose tracer tests
- Modified insulin suppression test
- Homeostatic model assessment test
- Quantitative insulin sensitivity check index test
The primary treatment options include exercise and growth hormone replacement therapy. Alternatives include increased use of cinnamon in food, artificial supplements of vanadium, chromium and regular Mg administration help to improve insulin-mediated glucose uptake. The condition has been commonly observed in individuals with a body mass index above 25, and those with a family history of type-2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and/or arteriosclerosis. IR can be managed with lifestyle changes, like reducing the intake of carbohydrates, unrefined sugars, white bread, and unrefined corn and potato products in the diet plan.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.