Insulin is a condition in which the body’s cells don’t respond to insulin hormones properly as they are expected to. The insulin resistance blood test UK doctors perform on patients is aimed at diagnosing this ailment.
When body cells don’t respond to insulin in the right manner, the end result can be diabetes. This may turn out to be type 2 diabetes. Or it may be gestational diabetes. Insulin resistance is also the main factor implicated in prediabetes.
There seems to be a close association between insulin resistance and obesity. However, we do still see cases where people who are neither obese nor even overweight nonetheless have insulin resistance.
Strategies for combating insulin resistance mostly entail reducing the production of insulin. But there are also cases where insulin injections/pumps turn out to be effective. Usually, all that a doctor needs to do is diagnose the condition first. This may be through the fasting insulin test, or any other relevant test. Then they can work out which approach to use, in combating the condition.
What exactly does the term ‘insulin resistance’ refer to?
To understand the meaning of the term ‘insulin resistance’, we first need to acquaint ourselves with insulin itself. As it turns out, insulin is a hormone that drives blood sugar control. It is specifically the hormone that allows the cells which make up the body to take in sugar (glucose), which then serves as fuel in them. Further, it is insulin that controls the storage of sugar that is not immediately needed, in the form of fat.
Sometimes though, body cells fail to respond to the hormone insulin in the appropriate manner. When this occurs, we say that the person has insulin resistance.
As we have said, insulin’s role is mainly in the control of blood sugar. Now when the cells don’t respond to it as they should, as a result, it builds up excessive sugar levels. Then it becomes the genesis of diabetes and all the scary complications that come with it.
If the cells are not responding to insulin as they should, what the body tends to do is compensate by producing even more insulin. This overproduction of insulin is a medical condition we refer to as hyperinsulinemia.
Key insulin resistance symptoms to watch out for
At the time when it starts out, insulin resistance doesn’t come with any specific symptoms. However, it soon leads to a situation where the body’s blood sugar levels are too high. Once this happens, the symptoms will include things like:
- A feeling of persistent tiredness (lethargy)
- Unusual hunger pangs
- Concentration challenges (due to what feels like inexplicable brain fog)
It is also possible for people who have insulin resistance to have other symptoms like:
- Accumulation of belly fat
- Hypertension (that is, blood pressure that is too high)
- Cholesterol levels that are abnormally high
Unchecked, insulin resistance is bound to turn into prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. In this case, the primary symptom would be unhealthily high blood sugar levels.
Indeed, the primary test through which insulin resistance is diagnosed checks for these sugar levels. That is why it is always best to look beyond very modest fasting insulin test cost. Focus instead on the condition it is aimed at diagnosing.
The most worrying thing about insulin resistance is that it can lead to diabetes. Now diabetes is a disease that affects almost all body systems in a very nasty manner. It can cause very scary complications and greatly lower the quality of life for the person.
What causes insulin resistance?
While the exact cause of insulin resistance is still a subject of debate, the risk factors with which it is associated are well understood.
Those risk factors that make one more prone to developing insulin resistance include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Eating a diet in which there are too many calories, too much sugar, or simply too much carbohydrate
- Being physically inactive
- Overusing steroids for too long
- Being a person who is always stressed
- Having PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) or having Cushing’s disease
Thus if you have any one of these conditions, the likelihood of you developing insulin resistance is high. It may therefore be advisable for you to take steps to ensure that insulin resistance doesn’t take root.
There are several internal factors that are associated with insulin resistance. A person who develops this condition is likely to be someone with:
- Lots of insulin flowing in the blood at all times
- Too much stored fat (within the liver and pancreas)
- Too much inflammation
So it is with the objective of gaining insight into these factors that doctors conduct the various insulin resistance tests. Whereas some may find aspects like that of the fasting insulin test cost hard to bear, they are nonetheless essential.
Are there ways of reversing (or at least reducing) insulin resistance?
There are several things you can do, in order to minimize the adverse effects that insulin resistance causes within the body.
- Adopt a diet that is low in carbohydrates. Also, consider a ketogenic diet.
- Embrace a low calories diet
- Exercise a lot, with a healthy diet
- In extreme cases, doctors may recommend weight loss surgery
The first objective behind these strategies to minimize the body’s requirement for insulin. There is also the weight loss objective, which is helpful because having too much weight tends to cause/worsen insulin resistance.
The most important thing is to be able to identify insulin resistance in good time. Then you can adopt the mitigating measures, before it turns into something worse, like diabetes. Once insulin resistance leads to full-blown diabetes, it can be extremely hard to deal with. But if you can catch it in the earlier stages, and put in place measures to reverse it, you may get much better outcomes.
Are you in need of an insulin resistance blood test UK? If yes, our Private GP in London may be of help with such a test and the subsequent follow-up.