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Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a metabolic condition where the body's cells become less responsive to insulin, a hormone crucial for regulating blood sugar levels. This resistance can lead to elevated blood glucose levels and is a precursor to type 2 diabetes and other health issues.

It's estimated that 40% of adults between the ages of 18 to 44 in the U.S. experience some degree of insulin resistance, especially among individuals with obesity or a sedentary lifestyle. This condition is often asymptomatic in its early stages, making awareness and early detection vital.

If you're facing symptoms of insulin resistance, consider consulting with Inception Telehealth & Wellness. Our team, sensitive to the nature of this condition, can offer support and advice.

Symptoms of Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance typically does not show apparent symptoms until it progresses to higher blood sugar levels or prediabetes. However, some possible indicators include:

  • Increased waist circumference
  • Darkened skin patches, known as acanthosis nigricans
  • Skin tags in certain areas of the body
  • Fatigue or frequent hunger
  • High blood pressure or cholesterol levels

Recognizing these signs early is critical for intervention and prevention of progression to more severe conditions like type 2 diabetes.

Causes of Insulin Resistance

Various factors influence the development of insulin resistance, each contributing in different ways to the condition.

Excess Weight

Excess weight in the abdominal region is among the highest contributors to insulin resistance. Abdominal fat, more than fat in other areas, is linked to a higher risk of insulin resistance. 

This type of fat is more than just a storage area for excess energy. It also releases hormones and substances that can interfere with your body's insulin response.

Physical Inactivity

Regular physical activity plays a vital role in maintaining your insulin sensitivity. A sedentary lifestyle, one that lacks activity, can lead to decreased sensitivity to insulin. This is because physical activity helps the body regulate blood sugar levels and use insulin more effectively.


The impact of diet on insulin resistance is significant. Diets high in saturated fats and processed carbohydrates contribute to the development of insulin resistance. These foods cause rapid spikes in blood sugar and can strain your body's ability to manage glucose effectively.

Hormonal Disorders

Certain hormonal disorders like Cushing's syndrome and acromegaly can affect your body’s insulin sensitivity. In Cushing's syndrome, high cortisol levels can increase blood sugar levels, while acromegaly, which involves excess growth hormone, can also interfere with insulin action.

Genetic Factors

Genetics plays a role in insulin resistance as well. You may be genetically predisposed to the condition, indicating a hereditary aspect. This means that if you have a family with a history of diabetes or insulin resistance, you are at a higher risk.


Certain medications can induce your insulin resistance. These include different types of steroids, as well as some treatments for HIV and psychiatric conditions. These can affect the way your body produces or uses insulin, leading to increased resistance.

Diagnosing Insulin Resistance

Diagnosing insulin resistance involves evaluating your risk factors and conducting blood tests, as there are no direct tests for the condition. 

The Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) test, Glycated Hemoglobin A1c test, and Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) are vital diagnostic tools used to assess blood sugar levels and diagnose conditions like insulin resistance, prediabetes, and diabetes.

Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) Test

The Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) Test is a fundamental diagnostic tool used to measure your blood sugar levels and screen for diabetes. This test requires you to fast for at least 8 hours before blood is drawn, ensuring that food intake does not influence the results. 

The primary purpose of the FPG test is to check the glucose levels in your bloodstream after this fasting period.

The results of the FPG test are categorized into three groups to aid in the diagnosis:

  • Normal: Blood sugar levels less than 100 mg/dL.
  • Prediabetes: Levels between 100 to 125 mg/dL, indicating a higher risk of developing diabetes.
  • Diabetes: Levels at 126 mg/dL or higher on two separate occasions confirm a diabetes diagnosis.

One of the key advantages of the FPG test is its convenience. It's relatively easy to administer, quick, and more affordable than other glucose testing methods. 

It's important to note that the FPG test has its limitations. It offers only a snapshot of your blood sugar levels during the test and might not accurately reflect fluctuations that occur throughout the day.

Glycated Hemoglobin A1c Test

The Glycated Hemoglobin A1c Test, often called the A1c test, plays a crucial role in managing and diagnosing insulin resistance. This test provides an average of your blood sugar levels over two to three months.

The procedure for the A1c test is straightforward and convenient. Unlike many other blood sugar tests, it does not require fasting. A blood sample can be taken at any time of the day. 

It measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to your hemoglobin in the red blood cells. Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen, and its interaction with glucose provides a gauge of average blood sugar levels.

The results of the A1c test are interpreted as follows:

  • Normal: An A1c level below 5.7%.
  • Prediabetes: A level ranging from 5.7% to 6.4%.
  • Diabetes: An A1c level of 6.5% or higher on two separate occasions.

One of the significant advantages of the A1c test is its ability to reflect long-term blood sugar control. This aspect is not influenced by temporary fluctuations that can occur due to day-to-day changes in your diet or stress levels. 

Although, the A1c test might only be accurate for some. Its accuracy can be affected if you have certain conditions, such as anemia, or during pregnancy, where hemoglobin levels might be altered.

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)

The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) is a detailed test primarily used for diagnosing insulin resistance during pregnancy and is also effective in identifying diabetes when other tests, such as the Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) or the A1c tests, yield inconclusive results.

The procedure for the OGTT starts with an initial fasting plasma glucose test to establish your baseline glucose level. Following this, you are required to drink a sweet liquid containing a specified amount of glucose. 

This is done to observe how efficiently your body processes the glucose. After you consume the glucose solution, your blood sugar levels are tested multiple times for two to three hours.

The results of the OGTT are translated as follows:

  • Normal: Blood sugar levels less than 140 mg/dL two hours after drinking the glucose solution.
  • Prediabetes: Blood sugar levels between 140 to 199 mg/dL two hours after drinking the glucose solution.
  • Diabetes: Blood sugar levels of 200 mg/dL or higher two hours after drinking the glucose solution.

One of the main advantages of the OGTT is its sensitivity. It is often more effective than the FPG or A1c tests in diagnosing prediabetes and diabetes, specifically in cases where the other tests might not detect these conditions. 

However, the OGTT has its limitations. It is more time-consuming than other tests, requires fasting, and you might find drinking the highly sweetened liquid uncomfortable. 

Despite these drawbacks, the OGTT is a valuable diagnostic tool in detecting various forms of insulin resistance.

Prevention of Insulin Resistance

Preventive measures are crucial in addressing insulin resistance. The following methods should be applied:

  • Regular physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and improve your insulin sensitivity. 
  • A balanced diet that focuses on whole foods and includes less processed carbohydrates can help manage your insulin sensitivity. 
  • Regular health check-ups are important in order to allow you to monitor and manage risk factors like obesity and high blood pressure

These measures can significantly reduce your risk of developing insulin resistance and its related complications.

Treatment Options for Insulin Resistance

Managing insulin resistance focuses on lifestyle modifications and, in some cases, medication. Treatment approaches include:

  • Dietary changes: Emphasizing a low-glycemic index diet.
  • Increased physical activity: Regular exercise to improve your insulin sensitivity.
  • Weight management: Aimed to reduce your abdominal fat.
  • Medication: In some cases, you’re prescribed medications like metformin.

These interventions aim to improve your sensitivity to insulin and prevent the progression to type 2 diabetes.

Insulin Resistance Management at Inception Telehealth & Wellness

At Inception Telehealth & Wellness, we offer you support and personalized treatment plans for insulin resistance. Our team understands the complexities of this condition and is committed to helping you improve your health and quality of life.

Reach out to Inception Telehealth & Wellness for personalized treatment options. You can call us at (855) 950-3828 or request a consultation online.

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