Inslin Resistance vs Insulin

By GabbyPA Latest Reply 2011-05-03 07:39:30 -0500
Started 2011-04-19 08:41:05 -0500

Here is my question. Why do doctors tend to treat insulin resistance with more insulin?

My body resists the insulin it makes, so why would the answer be to make more insulin? I really don't understand that thinking. I have learned for the members here many tips for dealing with my resistance, but my doctor's answer is just take more pills to make my pancreas produce more insulin. This works for a few weeks when my new dose is happening, but my body just adjusts to it. So more drugs, less success…what is good about that kind of treatment. Isn't my pancreas going to eventually give up or wear out? Then do I face a life of Type 1 from there?

28 replies

ethansmimi 2011-04-27 16:34:40 -0500 Report

I saw my endo today and asked the very same question. She gets frustrated with me because I can't take any of the oral meds due to severe IBS which seems to be triggered by almost everything and I have tons of drug allergies. Insulin works for me but I also have to count carbs. I have gained weight over the past year and I read that insulin can promote weight gain and asked about that too. I was told that can happen when there is so much insulin in the body that isn't being used. That's kind of discouraging. I also have to take prednisone for RA and asthma which also promotes weight gain and causes me to have to increase my insulin. I hate the vicious cycle. I had gotten my A1C down to 6.2 from 8.2 but it is creeping back up due to all the prednisone. I don't know what the easy answer is, I don't think there is one. Metformin works for my dad but I can't take it. I hope insulin continues to work but it does concern me that I keep having to increase it due to taking prednisone. I do wonder about the side effects of all the insulin floating around in my body. I don't think anyone really knows the answer to that.

GabbyPA 2011-04-28 20:37:18 -0500 Report

I learned yesterday at a consultation I went to that when we have all that insulin floating around, our bodies get used to it and start to ignore it. Then we increase our insulin (or the production of it) and again, our bodies start to ignore it. She said it was a lot like a drug addict. You always have to increase your dose. So I don't want to keep doing that. I want to find a solution to the resistance, not just have more insulin floating around my body.

jayabee52 2011-04-28 02:50:25 -0500 Report

Howdy Brenda!
Are you aware of a sister site to DC is "IBS Connect"? I am a member there as well as ones for some of my other medical challenges. There's also an "Arthritis conncect" too on which you'll find me too.

What kind of IBS do you have? IBS "C" (constipation) "D" (diaharrea) or "A" (alternates between c & d) I have the "A" type and seem to have found a good way to contol it. If you're interested, I'll tell you what I do.

In the mean time, check out the other "connect" sites. You will find much the same spirit there as found on DC. You'll find some of the same people too.

On the black bar on the top of the page is, "visit another community". Select a community of interest from the drop down list.

To sign in, just use your login information from DC.


James Baker

ethansmimi 2011-04-28 09:21:51 -0500 Report

Hi James,
Thanks for the info. I have been exploring the website and have visited the arthritis and chronic pain communities. I'll have to checkout the IBS community. I have had diarrhea prominent IBS for twenty something years then when I became diabetic and started on insulin, everything reversed. Now it alternates some. I have a lot more abdominal pain and nausea than I used to.

My gastro introduced me to Align and it does seem to help but I definitely have to watch everything I eat and stress is a tremendous contributor. I can't eat as healthy as I'd like to because of the severe abdominal cramping. Do you experience that?

Have a fantastic day!


jayabee52 2011-04-28 23:54:18 -0500 Report

Howdy Brenda!

No, I don't have a lot of cramping problems. I started to take Metamucil to help me to feel full without a lot of carbs. After I was on it for about 1 month, I noted that I no longer had the alternating swings between IBS C and D. My BMs have seemed normal for about 3 mos now. I wasn't trying to fix my IBS, just fight the desire to nibble at snacks. I was just fortunate that I hit on that. As long as it is working for me, I'll continue.

My eating plan is rather sparse as I am attempting to control my DM with diet & what little exercise I get. So far so good, as long as I don't over eat like I did on Good Friday. I kinda let my appetite get out of control and I had things I ought not. But the BG#s are back down now.

Blessings to you and yours, Brenda.


Ridgewalker 2011-04-27 16:04:38 -0500 Report

I went to my new GP and asked her "Why should I take insulin and Glipizide if neither seem to be helping with my blood sugars?" My concern now is having high insulin levels that can cause problems and could make my insulin resistance worse? She said why don't you just stop both and go back to strict diet and exercise and see what happens. Last time I did this I got my A1C down to 5.8.

So that's what I'm trying next. I realize the Endo gave me Glipizide because that's usually the last chance oral drug they try on you before insulin time. She also had me take just 6 units in morning and evening of 70/30 Novalog to see if it would help rest my beta cells. Course we didn't know if it raised or lowered my insulin levels cause "it's too expensive to test it", But I think triglyceride to HDL ratio is also a pretty good indicator of insulin levels, and my new GP is testing that.

To lower your insulin levels, what I would do is eat very low glycemic (eat only foods with a low glycemic load, like under 15) and get to exercising every day. Walking seems to work the best. If I do heavy cardio it actually raises my blood sugar 40 - 70 points on my meter. I do heavy 2 hour cardio workout three times a week, but enjoy hikes as well. Last time I did this regular I went down 51 lbs. My new doc thinks I should lose another 30 lbs. and this should help lower my BMI. So this is my next plan - no drugs other than cinnamon, vinegar, and some grapefruit. I'm also upping my fiber intake to 50 - 60 grams a day. I found a bread that's 13 gm carb. 12 gm fiber and 12 gm protien - so net carbs. 1 gm for 1 slice. Just try finding sprouted bread like this! Plus, I'm adding lots of hummus - it's low carb. 4 gms. and a high fiber chip 5 gms. fiber.

I'm also really dropping saturated fat except for what might be in fish. Chicken actually has quite a bit of saturated fat and even more cholesterol than 5% hamburger, 15% hamburger (lower than 5% hamburger), or serloin steak (lowest cholesterol of all 4)). We now consume 50 times more chicken than in 1950, probably because of the sasturated fat/cholesterol scare with red meat and maybe also the cost now for red meat. I think saturated fat can make insulin resistance worse, from what I've read. We'll see what happens.

Ridgewalker 2011-04-24 18:28:00 -0500 Report

OK, so I have been asking my doctors the same question. they wnted to put me on insulin without checking my insulin levels first. I went to my GP and said let's get an insulin level an C-Peptide. They usually don't doa C-Peptide because "they don't know how to understand the results." I've never had a doctor check my insulin levels because "it's too expensive and they don't know what the results mean." Hello, earth to Endo?

So I had the tests done. On an insulin scale of 0 to 10 (normal insulin levels) I was a 16.9. On the C-Peptide on a lab scale of 1.1 to 4.4 (normal range) I was a 9. So twice the high end of the normal range. So I don't have low insulin. So why put me on insulin? Here is what the UCSD diabetes educatr said "to supersaturate your receptors to get some glucose to go into the cells." Insulin does not make new receptors.

What the doctors are not telling you is if your insulin levels are above 10 you have 5 times the risk for a cardiac event (heart attack). If you have metabolic syndrome too, which most type 2s have, it puts you at 16 - 20 times risk for hear attack,plus it makes you gain fat like crazy. Remember insulin is the fat storage hormone so when your insulin levels are high, carbs. you eat are stored rather than burned. The higher your insulin is, the mre insulin resistance will develop, o you need more and more insulin and pills, which eventually can cause death from atherosclerosis and cancer. If you don't believe me just get on google and start asking some questions, you'll be shocked as I was…

GabbyPA 2011-04-26 15:33:16 -0500 Report

Well that just yanks my chain. Sheesh...I have asked about this test, but they just don't do it mostly because I use a clinic. I guess I need to push and offer to pay the extra to get it done. I bet I am pretty high on that as well.

Jeanette Terry
Jeanette TerryPA 2011-04-22 15:41:02 -0500 Report

There are a lot of reasons for insulin resistance. Here is an article that refers to 11 tips to help with insulin resistance. Perhaps something in there can help.

GabbyPA 2011-04-22 22:21:43 -0500 Report

Yes, actually that is one of the articles I printed out to keep handy for my battle plans. It is very helpful. Much more helpful than my doctor's ideas. I have to take it with me to my next visit to go over it with him. Get some input on it.

clj01 2011-04-21 13:33:44 -0500 Report

I just asked this question to the Nephrologist I work with. His basic answer was that the extra insulin we take, or in the case of oral medication, increased production from the pancreas overcomes the resistance of the cells to allow the insulin to do it's job. When I questioned that the receptors on the cells were already connected to insulin aviailable in the body he told me that additional receptors are created. In short the way to overcome resistance is by adding more insulin. Hope this helps

Dev 2011-04-22 21:11:00 -0500 Report

I actually heard/read exactly opposite.
One of the reasons given to carb counting was that, if there is surge in sugar then the body produces more insulin and more floating insulin adds to the insulin resistance. I have always been confused about this same issue Gabby mentioned in the post above.
I wonder if the medical community doesn't know a definitive answer or it is not explained correctly and simply to us.

GabbyPA 2011-04-22 22:23:17 -0500 Report

I rather imagine there is no definitive, so they just generalize, as that is the easy way. We are not easy, we are complicated. My doc does a pretty good job of listening to me, but I think here we will have to take on some more ideas together.

clj01 2011-04-23 09:05:11 -0500 Report

perhaps it will take someone who is actually affected by this disease to come up with the answers.

Jim Edwards
Jim Edwards 2011-04-21 12:00:34 -0500 Report

WHO ARE YOU TO QUESTION YOUR TREATMENT? lol Interesting question. I have just finished up my insulin vs. no insulin experiment, on me, and it appears as if the insiulin I inject each night is not doing me any good. Time to go back to my PCP. Hopefully he doesn't say to use more insulin! I am up to 80 units a night.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2011-04-21 08:00:20 -0500 Report

You voiced what I keep wondering. How long will my body be tricked by the metformin. When will it decide to stop making enough insulin and/or become more resistant to what insulin is available?
I eat less than half the carbs the hosipital dietician said I could. If I even come close to the amount she said up goes the BG. Getting rid of the stress from being unemployed has seemed to help. Plus the job is fun and gets me to exercise regularly. I don't know how the BG would have been doing if I had been unable to work and not do exercise. I know how much higher it was last year. As the lack of income stress continued it was starting to affect the numbers. I was having more unexplained ups and downs.
None of us can eliminate most of the stress that is making our bodies work overtime. Does anyone know if the stress to our adrenal systems makes the insulin/carb problem worse? Pain and stress put us into fight or flight mode making the adrenal system run on overtime. Could it be making matters worse. If life could ever be that magical place of alot closer to perfect, would BG numbers be closer to perfect as well?

Armourer 2011-04-21 01:39:26 -0500 Report

I'm really at a loss in this! I'm very much insulin resistance, in fact its carb counting that has helped me control things. But I know down to eating once a day, and in the future looks like it will be not eating a day here and there cause of IRS. I have to find a way to cut $400 out of the budget a month for the coming year. The only place is the food budget. And I'm just getting bigger & bigger. I now weigh the most in my life, 270. I can't exercise due to two back problems. I can't walk for more then a 1/4 of a block without my legs freezing up from my back, or just leaning over the sink to wash hands or get a glass of water. I quite cooking on the stove cause I can't stand there long enough. My Doc said to test my BG and take half a dose of insulin to cut the highs, but not so much as to give me lows.

vinnigirl 2011-05-01 17:20:26 -0500 Report

im new here but just a thought to you Armouer and everyone else; have your thyroid levels and function checked. You might find out that the real problem is there or that it is creating some dysfunction in your body elsewhere.

Armourer 2011-05-02 00:24:46 -0500 Report

Good suggestion, yes and no problem.

GabbyPA 2011-05-03 07:39:30 -0500 Report

My thyroid was probably my first indication that something was wrong years ago. It was so small of a problem that the doc was not overly concerned and I still take a very low dose of synthroid. But I bet if people looked there first, they would find diabetes a LOT quicker than they do. I am not sure about the connection, but it seems to be a very common one.

Harlen 2011-04-19 21:51:58 -0500 Report

They tried to do that to me too .
Thank god my wife in a RN she des no !!!
Pills are a lot cheeper then insulin for the ins comp.
The Doc was even mad at me for asking for a pump ( I was useing a lot of insulin and a pump just made it better then giving myself 12 to 15 shots a day .
I whent from 300+ units a day to 150 a day with the pump ????

Yo give it streat the pills are a lot cheeper then more insulin
Best wishes

GabbyPA 2011-04-20 10:59:44 -0500 Report

When I say insulin, I am meaning what my body produces. I have asked to be put on insulin but the doctor wants me to work harder to control it with more exercise and diet and that is good, but he doesn't really help with specifics. I would not really be able to afford insulin anyway and would have to find a way to get it paid for, as I am not insured. So I am sure that is also why he keeps me on oral meds.

My numbers are not nearly as wacky as they used to be, but the fact that I don't get those nice lows below 100 hardly ever is still a bother to me.

alanbossman 2011-04-19 20:47:12 -0500 Report

I have the same problem of insulin resistance, like Kd said i eat low low carb meals and exercise some to control numbers. The problem with low low carbs is your energy level is also low.

GabbyPA 2011-04-20 10:57:12 -0500 Report

I worry too about too much protein. I like beans, but they are carb. It is a rough balance. I do good in the energy area, I don't get sleepy at all anymore unless I am just worn out from gardening or something.

kdroberts 2011-04-19 09:06:36 -0500 Report

Well, there aren't really any drugs other than avandia and actos that actually help with insulin resistance as their primary function. Metformin helps a little but not a whole lot. The only way to reduce insulin resistance consistently is exercise but it requires you to do it on a regular basis and some people are limited in what they can do. The other thing you can do is reduce your need for insulin by eating less carbohydrate. High blood sugars are bad so if you are doing your part with the exercise and reducing insulin resistance and eating in a way to reduce your need for insulin but you still have high blood sugars, the options open to the doctor is kind of limited. Do you keep meds the same and hope that blood sugars come down but run the risk of long term damage or do you try other medications available even though they may not truly address your problem but should help reduce long term complications?

Your pancreas may or may not stop functioning down the line, no way of really knowing. If it does then you will technically lead the life as a type 1 but with insulin resistance. The advantage you would have, since you wouldn't really be type 1 with the autoimmune problem, is if there is a treatment that restores beta cell functionality to the pancreas you wouldn't have to worry about the autoimmune problem that a true type 1 would.

GabbyPA 2011-04-20 10:54:57 -0500 Report

I really believe this is why when I eat nearly no carbs I do much better. When I eat even the lower end of the recommended amount it is hard to get good numbers. I walk daily, and I do a lot of outdoor activities, so I know my activity level can be better, but it has come a long way.

I think I just have to go back to a kind of no carb diet. My doc and nutritionist say no, but they just keep adding Glipizide doses and that is not really what I want.

jenn9075 2011-04-22 21:49:59 -0500 Report

I eat about 30 net carbs per day the only carbs I take in are from berries and vegtables I drink almond milk for milk special k has a brand of cereal that only has 9 net per serving all of this has made it so I have been able to cut my insulin in half

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