Insulin Resistance

insulin resistance

What is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone that is produced in the pancreas. During digestion, the food you eat is broken down into a simple sugar called glucose. Glucose is then absorbed into the blood after you eat. Insulin is vital in helping glucose to enter the cells of the body and to be used as energy. If there is not enough insulin to absorb the glucose in your diet, your blood sugar levels will increase.

What is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance (IR) is a condition in which the body’s cells become resistant or immune to the effects of the hormone called insulin. The normal response to a given amount of insulin is reduced. As a result, higher levels of insulin are required for insulin to produce the desired effect of stabilizing blood sugar. The insulin producing organ, also called the pancreas, compensates by trying to produce more insulin. With insulin resistance, the pancreas produces more and more insulin until it can no longer produce sufficient insulin for the body’s demands. At this point, blood sugar rises. Insulin resistance is a risk factor for development of diabetes and heart disease.

Insulin Resistance and PCOS

Young women who have been diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) often have elevated levels of insulin. High insulin levels can cause the ovaries to produce androgen hormones such as testosterone. Certain medical conditions such as being overweight or having PCOS can cause insulin resistance. A healthy lifestyle of good nutrition and daily exercise is an important part of a PCOS treatment plan. There is also a medication that can be prescribed for women with PCOS to help prevent diabetes.