Insulin resistance

If your body is still producing insulin but the insulin is not working properly, this is called "insulin resistance". Insulin resistance begins a number of years before Type 2 diabetes develops, although it does not always result in diabetes and raised blood glucose. Most doctors believe that insulin resistance is the main reason why people develop Type 2 diabetes. It is thought that insulin resistance is caused by excess weight, stored around your middle and is linked to the metabolic syndrome.

People who carry excess weight around their middle (central fat) tend to have high blood pressure and low levels of good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol). The central fat is very poor at storing lipids (fats) called "triglycerides", which are an energy source. If these triglycerides aren't stored properly, the level of them in your blood will begin to rise. High levels of fats in your blood can lead to insulin resistance. Your body will then need more insulin to maintain a healthy blood glucose level. Type 2 diabetes may also develop if your pancreas doesn't release enough insulin, which causes the blood glucose level to drift upwards. As your blood glucose level rises, you may experience symptoms of thirst, tiredness and frequent visits to the bathroom. If you are insulin resistant, you may be more prone to health problems including high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This can lead to heart and blood circulation disorders, which are known as "cardiovascular diseases". This is why people with Type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop heart disease.

You can help reduce the risk of becoming insulin resistant by increasing your physical activity levels and losing excess weight. This can also be an effective way to improve insulin resistance and its symptoms. Regular exercise should increase your body's sensitivity to insulin and can help you sustain healthy blood glucose levels. Make sure you check with your doctor or diabetes healthcare team before you start a new exercise program. They will be able to give you advice about safe and effective ways to exercise.


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