Do you know if you are insulin resistant? Researchers believe one in three Americans is resistant to insulin which means their bodies do not respond properly to the hormone; they cannot easily absorb glucose from the bloodstream. As a result, the body needs higher levels of insulin to help glucose enter cells. If not controlled, over time insulin resistance can lead to pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

Although the exact causes of insulin resistance are not entirely understood, health experts believe excess weight and physical inactivity contribute to this condition. Obesity, especially excess fat around the waist, is a primary cause of insulin resistance. Studies show losing the weight can reduce insulin resistance and prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes. Exercise can make a big difference, too. Active muscles burn stored glucose for energy and refill their reserves with glucose taken from the bloodstream, keeping blood glucose levels in balance. Studies show that after exercising, muscles become more sensitive to insulin which can reverse insulin resistance and lowering blood glucose levels. The more muscle a body has, the more glucose it can burn to control blood glucose levels. Ethnicity, certain diseases, hormones, steroid use, some medications, older age, sleep problems like sleep apnea and cigarette smoking can all contribute to insulin resistance, too.

To learn more, our Ask the Doctor guest will be answering questions tonight between 5 – 6 p.m. at (775) 858-2222. Ben Prohaska is a Physician Assistant at Renown Medical Group - Endocrinology. It is located at 10085 Double R Blvd in Reno or call (775) 982-5000.