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How Insulin Resistance Causes Weight Gain: 10 Symptoms

Understanding Insulin Resistance

insulin-resistance-cycyleInsulin is a hormone that helps the body regulate blood sugar levels. It does this by helping the body store sugar as glycogen in the liver and muscles. When blood sugar levels drop, such as after we eat, insulin is released from the pancreas to help transport sugar into the cells for energy. In people with insulin resistance, the body doesn’t respond appropriately to insulin, so blood sugar levels can rise too high.

Insulin and weight gain are often interconnected because if someone is insulin resistant, they may be more likely to experience weight gain.

One of the leading causes of weight gain is insulin resistance. When our bodies become resistant to insulin, it causes our blood sugar levels to rise. This, in turn, causes our body to store more fat, leading to weight gain. Many things can contribute to insulin resistance, including a high-sugar diet, a sedentary lifestyle, stress, aging, and certain medical conditions.

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance is when the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin even though insulin levels are elevated. Insulin resistance can lead to high blood sugar levels and is often a precursor to type 2 diabetes.

What is the difference between insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body doesn’t make enough insulin. This leads to high blood sugar levels.

 

What are the symptoms of insulin resistance?

The symptoms of insulin resistance can vary from person to person. Some people may not experience any symptoms at all. For others, the most common symptom is increased thirst. Other insulin resistance symptoms can include increased hunger, fatigue, urinating more than usual, blurred vision, and slow healing wounds. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you think that you are experiencing symptoms of insulin resistance. 

10 Symptoms of insulin resistance include:

  • fatigue
  • weight gain
  • irritability
  • hunger
  • cravings for sweets
  • difficulty losing weight
  • frequent urination
  • thirst
  • dry mouth
  • slow wound healing

Common Causes of Insulin Resistance Include:

  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High-sugar diet
  • Certain medical conditions
  • Hormone problems
  • Genetics
  • Lack of sleep
  • Stress
  • Prescription drugs
  • Obesity
  • Aging
  • Hypertension
  • Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes

1. Insulin resistance and prescription drugs

Certain prescription drugs can also cause insulin resistance. These include:
– birth control pills
– antipsychotic medications
– corticosteroids
– some diabetes medications

2. Insulin resistance and aging

Aging is also a contributing factor to insulin resistance. As we age, our body’s ability to use insulin decreases, which can lead to insulin resistance. This is why people over the age of 60 are at a higher risk of becoming insulin resistant and developing diabetes.

3. Insulin resistance and menopause

The transition to menopause can cause many changes in a woman’s body, one of which is an increased risk for insulin resistance. This is because, during menopause, the ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, which can increase belly fat. This belly fat is more likely to cause insulin resistance than fat stored in other body parts. If you’re going through menopause and struggling with insulin resistance and weight gain, talk to your doctor about ways to manage these issues. They may recommend lifestyle changes, such as diet, exercise, or medication.

4. Insulin resistance and birth control pills

Birth control pills can also lead to insulin resistance. This is because they can cause an increase in androgen levels, which can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance. Talk to your doctor about alternative options if you’re taking birth control pills and struggling with insulin resistance and weight gain. They may be able to prescribe a different type of birth control pill that doesn’t cause these side effects.

5. PCOS and insulin resistance

PCOS is a condition that can lead to insulin resistance. PCOS occurs when the ovaries produce too much testosterone, which can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance. If you have PCOS and are struggling with insulin resistance and weight gain, talk to your doctor about managing these issues. They may recommend lifestyle changes, such as diet, exercise, or medication. contain the hormone estrogen, which can increase the amount of fat stored in the body, particularly in the abdominal area. This fat is more likely to cause insulin resistance than fat stored in other body parts. If you’re taking birth control pills and struggling with insulin resistance and weight gain, talk to your doctor about ways to manage these issues. They may recommend lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise or medication.

6. Pre-diabetes and insulin resistance

If you have pre-diabetes, you may be at risk for insulin resistance. This is because pre-diabetes is a condition that’s characterized by high blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels are high, the body has to produce more insulin to manage these levels. Over time, this can lead to insulin resistance. If you have pre-diabetes and are struggling with insulin resistance and weight gain, talk to your doctor about ways. Pre-diabetes is a condition that can lead to insulin resistance. Pre=diabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than usual but not high enough to diagnose diabetes.

7. Insulin resistance and lack of sleep

Studies have shown that there is a link between insulin resistance and lack of sleep. People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be insulin resistant, and people who are insulin resistant are more likely to experience sleep problems. This is because our bodies don’t function well when we’re tired, leading to insulin resistance.

If you’re struggling with insulin resistance and weight gain, get enough sleep every night. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night so that your body has time to recover and reset.

8. Insulin resistance and stress

Stress can also play a role in insulin resistance. When we’re stressed, our bodies release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol helps raise blood sugar levels, leading to insulin resistance. Managing your stress levels can help reduce your risk of developing insulin resistance.

9. Hypothyroidism and insulin resistance

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. This can lead to insulin resistance because the body isn’t able to use insulin properly. Other hormones that are associated with  insulin resistance include growth hormone, glucagon,  testosterone, and estrogen. Testosterone is a hormone that can cause insulin resistance. In men, testosterone levels decline with age, which can lead to insulin resistance. In women, insulin resistance can occur during menopause when estrogen and progesterone levels decline.

If you’re struggling with insulin resistance and weight gain, managing your stress levels is important. Try to do relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation. You may also want to speak with your doctor about ways to manage your stress.

Diseases and Medical Conditions Associated with Insulin Resistance

insulin-resistance-warning

Insulin resistance and heart disease

There is a strong link between insulin resistance and heart disease. Insulin resistance can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and triglycerides. All of these conditions are risk factors for heart disease. People with insulin resistance are twice as likely to develop heart disease as those who don’t have insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. People with metabolic syndrome are more likely to be insulin resistant.

There is a strong link between insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. In fact, insulin resistance is thought to be the underlying cause of metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol levels. These conditions can lead to insulin resistance. In turn, insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

What are the symptoms of metabolic syndrome?

The symptoms of metabolic syndrome include:

– High blood pressure

– High blood sugar

– Abnormal cholesterol levels

– Excess body fat around the waist (apple-shaped)

 

Insulin resistance and stroke

There is also a link between insulin resistance and stroke. Insulin resistance can lead to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for stroke. People with insulin resistance are four times as likely to have a stroke as those who don’t have insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance and cancer

Some evidence suggests that insulin resistance may be linked to cancer. Insulin resistance can lead to high levels of insulin in the blood, and this has been linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer, such as breast, colon, and pancreatic cancer.

Insulin resistance and obesity

Obesity is a major risk factor for insulin resistance, and people who are obese are more likely to be insulin resistant than those who are not obese. When we’re obese, our bodies have to produce more insulin to manage our blood sugar levels. This can lead to insulin resistance over time. Additionally, fat cells produce hormones that can increase inflammation and make it harder for the body to use insulin properly.

Insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s disease

Some evidence suggests that insulin resistance may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease. When we’re insulin resistant, our brains don’t get the sugar they need for energy. This can lead to problems with memory and thinking. Additionally, insulin resistance has been linked to an increased risk of dementia. .

Insulin resistance and fatty liver disease

Fatty liver disease is a condition that occurs when there is too much fat build-up in the liver. This can be caused by obesity, diabetes, and insulin resistance. People with fatty liver disease are more likely to develop liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, and other serious health problems.

Insulin resistance and kidney disease

Kidney disease is a serious condition that can occur when the kidneys are not able to filter toxins from the blood properly. Insulin resistance can lead to kidney disease because it can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys. People with insulin resistance are four times as likely to develop kidney disease as those who don’t have insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance and polycystic ovarian syndrome

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that can cause fertility, metabolism, and appearance problems. PCOS is often linked to insulin resistance. In fact, up to 70% of women with PCOS also have insulin resistance.

insulin resistance and periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is a condition that affects the gums and teeth. It’s caused by bacteria that build up in the mouth and can lead to inflammation, swelling, and bleeding of the gums. People with insulin resistance are two times as likely to develop periodontal disease as those who don’t have insulin resistance.

Treating Insulin Resistance

treating-insulin-resistanceIf you have insulin resistance, it’s essential to talk to your doctor to develop a treatment plan. You can manage your insulin resistance and improve your overall health with the right treatment. Managing your insulin resistance is an important step in achieving your desired weight. Making lifestyle changes can help you better manage your insulin resistance and lose weight.

There are treatments available that can help you manage your insulin resistance.

If you have insulin resistance, there are things you can do to treat it.

 
Stress management and insulin resistance

One of the most important things you can do to manage insulin resistance is to manage your stress levels. When stressed, our bodies release hormones that can make it harder for us to use insulin properly. This can lead to blood sugar spikes and crashes, worsening insulin resistance.

Diet and insulin resistance

Eating a healthy diet is an important part of managing insulin resistance. Foods high in sugar, fat, and calories can worsen insulin resistance. Instead, focus on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.

Exercise and insulin resistance

Exercise is another essential part of managing insulin resistance. Exercise helps to improve our body’s sensitivity to insulin and lowers blood sugar. It also helps reduce stress levels and promote weight loss, which can help improve insulin resistance.

Diet is also important in treating insulin resistance. A healthy diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Low carb diets are helpful. Avoid rice, pasta, potatoes, bread, sweet fruits, and processed foods.

Supplements and insulin resistance

Supplements along with diet and exercise can help improve insulin resistance. Some natural supplements, like MIC B Rx,  containing  methionine, Choline, L-Carnitine, Guggul, Fenugreek, CoQ10, Policosanol, Bitter Melon, Garlic and  Turmeric can improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin. 

Medications and insulin resistance

Medications can also be used to treat insulin resistance. These include metformin, semaglutide, pioglitazone, and rosiglitazone.

Your doctor may recommend:

– Making changes to your diet

– Getting more exercise

– Taking medication

– Managing stress levels

However, it’s important to speak with your doctor before making any changes, as they will be able to tailor a plan that’s right for you.

Talk to your doctor about the best way to manage your condition so that you can live a healthy, happy life.

 

About Author

Picture of Ava Bell-Taylor, M.D

Ava Bell-Taylor, M.D

Ava Bell-Taylor, M.D., originally from Atlanta, Georgia, received her Bachelor of Science degree from Spelman College. She later received her medical degree from Morehouse School of Medicine. She completed her Family Practice training at Floyd Medical Center in Rome, Georgia and her psychiatry residency at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Bell-Taylor has extensive post-graduate medical training in Functional, Integrative, and Anti-Aging Medicine. She is certified in Functional Medicine. Ava Bell-Taylor, M.D. is a holistic doctor with a focus on functional and integrative medicine. Combining functional medicine with her knowledge of conventional medicine has enabled Dr. Bell-Taylor to help many patients suffering from depression, anxiety, insomnia, attention-deficient, dementia, and eating disorders. Dr. Bell-Taylor specializes in functional medicine with a special emphasis on how hormone disorders, environmental factors, lifestyle choices, and nutritional deficiencies contribute to brain dysfunction, like depression, attention deficiency, anxiety, insomnia, dementia, and other chronic medical illnesses. Dr. Ava Bell- Taylor is the co-author with her husband, Eldred B, Taylor, M.D, of two must-read books, Are Your Hormone Making You Sick? and The Stress Connection: How Adrenal Gland Dysfunction Effects Your Health.