Back to Type 2 What is Insulin Resistance?

What Is Insulin Resistance?

Being insulin resistant means your body's cells (mostly the muscle, liver and fat cells) don't respond normally to the insulin your body naturally produces. In essence, your cells stop being sensitive, or receptive, to insulin. Think of insulin resistance as insulin trying to knock on the door of the cell but getting no response.

Our bodies get glucose (a form of sugar) from some of the foods we eat. A gland called the pancreas makes insulin, which the body needs to move sugar from the bloodstream into the body's cells where it is used for energy. Because the cells of people with type 2 don't respond to insulin in a normal way, the insulin doesn't reach the cells. The body then has to make more and more insulin to overcome the resistance in order to keep the blood sugar level normal.

Without insulin to move the sugar around the body, sugar builds up in the blood and rises to unhealthy levels. Over time (and for a variety of reasons) the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin (called beta cells) can no longer make enough insulin to overcome the body's resistance (this is known as relative insulin deficiency). When this happens, the pancreas stops working effectively, blood sugar rises and type 2 diabetes develops.

The goal for treating type 2 diabetes is to improve the body's sensitivity to insulin and to lower blood glucose levels to the normal range. This most often involves three related steps: monitoring blood sugar levels, taking oral medications and/or insulin, and making healthy lifestyle changes. Changing your lifestyle so that you lose weight and become more fit are important steps that everyone should take to lower blood glucose and decrease the risk of diabetes complications.

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Last Updated: Saturday April 20, 2013 13:31:34
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