The Silent Insulin Resistance Epidemic: 10 Early Warning Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

 Insulin resistance is the single greatest hidden health threat today, affecting nearly 300 million people in the United States. It is the major cause of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and a wide range of other chronic diseases. This article summarizes the top 10 signs and symptoms of insulin resistance, based on a video by Health Champions.

What is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance refers to cells becoming resistant to the effects of insulin. Insulin is the hormone that allows cells to absorb and utilize glucose from the bloodstream. With insulin resistance, cells fail to respond to normal levels of insulin, leading to elevated blood sugar.

The progression of insulin resistance is measured via hemoglobin A1c blood tests. A1c provides an average blood sugar reading over the prior 3-4 months. Normal A1c is around 5, while 5.7-6.4 is considered prediabetic and over 6.5 is diabetic.

However, A1c can remain normal for many years as insulin levels increase to compensate for resistance. Measuring insulin provides a more accurate gauge of resistance over time. The normal fasting insulin range is 2.6-25 ?IU/mL, although optimal is under 5.

Around 88 million Americans have prediabetes based on A1c criteria, but 90% are unaware due to the insensitivity of A1c tests. Measuring insulin would better identify the estimated 150 million people in earlier stages of insulin resistance. Thus nearly half the U.S. population suffers from improper carbohydrate metabolism to some degree.

Top 10 Signs and Symptoms

Here are the top 10 signs and symptoms of insulin resistance:

Elevated Fasting Insulin

The best marker of insulin resistance is a directly elevated fasting insulin level. Values above 5 ?IU/mL indicate growing resistance.

Fatigue After Meals

Fatigue after eating carbs is a symptom of cells resisting the effects of insulin. The body must expend extra energy to dispose of excess sugar.

Slow Wound Healing

Poor circulation caused by insulin resistance inhibits wound healing and contributes to neuropathy.

Numbness and Tingling

Neuropathy and reduced circulation causes numbness and tingling in the extremities. This progresses to ulcerations and infections in later-stage diabetes.

Kidney Damage

Microvascular damage to kidneys can lead to tissue scarring and reduced filtration. This contributes to kidney failure, the #1 cause of which is diabetes.

Blurred Vision

Retinopathy, or damage to retina blood vessels, causes blurred vision. This can advance to blindness, also the leading cause of which is diabetes.

Increased Hunger

Growing insulin resistance prevents energy stores from being accessed, increasing hunger cues despite weight gain.

Weight Gain

Insulin is the body’s primary fat storage hormone. Resistance promotes excess calorie storage as fat while preventing fat breakdown.

Joint Pain and Arthritis

The inflammation from insulin resistance can instigate or worsen osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis. The ensuing weight gain exacerbates joint strains.

Digestive Issues

Gut dysbiosis and improper sugar digestion creates gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort in those with resistance.

Visceral belly fat as predominant factor

Insulin resistance can occur in normal weight individuals, though visceral belly fat is a giveaway. And while resistance causes the lion’s share of health problems, other factors may also be at play. Still, addressing improper insulin and carb metabolism is key for nearly everyone.

The main takeaway is that insulin resistance underlies the vast majority of chronic disease. Identifying and reversing this condition early is essential to optimize health and longevity. Catching it at the first sign using insulin tests, rather than waiting for standard diabetes diagnoses, will save much suffering down the road.

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