HMW

Q:

If you're insulin resistant, do you have high or low blood sugar, and how do they treat it?

Amy Campbell

A:

Insulin resistance occurs when the body produces plenty of insulin but is not able to use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that helps to lower blood glucose levels. When there isn’t enough insulin available or it’s not able to work as well as it should, blood glucose levels increase. The pancreas then makes even more insulin in an effort to help lower glucose levels in the blood, but eventually it’s unable to keep up with the demand. If not treated, insulin resistance can lead to pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Fortunately, thanks to studies like the Diabetes Prevention Program, we know that insulin resistance can be treated (and diabetes prevented) by focusing on making lifestyle changes. These include losing 5 to 7 percent of body weight, if you are overweight, making better food choices, and being physically active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. There is no medication approved to treat insulin resistance, but research shows that metformin, a very effective medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes, may help to reverse insulin resistance.