The best type of medicine, in my opinion, is preventative medicine, and one of my passions is the treatment of INSULIN RESISTANCE, otherwise known as PRE-DIABETES.
Insulin resistance is where the cells in the body become resistant to the hormone, which controls blood sugar – insulin. Insulin is critical to the body’s use of glucose for energy and so whilst some patients will have no symptoms, others may notice fatigue, hunger (including strongly craving carbs), or impaired concentration. Many patients will be found to have insulin resistance when investigated for weight loss resistance.
Insulin resistance is essential to be managed, as it is the precursor to diabetes. Untreated, it also may lead to the development of fatty liver, which can lead to liver failure or even liver cancer. If insulin resistance occurs together with central obesity, increased blood pressure, and increased triglyceride levels it is known as metabolic syndrome and puts one at significant risk of heart disease.
The great news is that in the majority of cases insulin resistance can be corrected.
No one quite knows yet what causes insulin resistance but we do know that there is a genetic component and that other factors include having excess weight, stress, and inactivity.
If found to be an issue for you, your GP will discuss with you an individual plan for your insulin resistance but some of the absolute rules are:
*cut out sugars including table sugar, fruit juices
*no white bread, white potatoes, or unrefined corn products
*you MUST exercise – ideally ~30 minutes every day but at least 150 minutes per week
*intermittent fasting of some form can improve your insulin profile – a method that most of my patients find very doable is the 16:8 protocol, where you choose 8 hours of the day during which to eat (eg 11am-7pm) and outside of that you only drink clear, unsweetened fluids. It is important not to stretch the interval out to TOO much fasting, as the body will go into conservation mode. Stick to the 16:8 breakdown and you should do well.
*medication may be considered if you are struggling but it is important to note that whilst medications reduce the chance of progressing to diabetes by about 1/3, good food and exercise has a much greater chance of this and without any side effects.
Managing insulin resistance is an exciting part of medicine – to prevent the onset of something like diabetes is extremely satisfying and has the potential to provide you a much better quality of life.