Understanding Australia’s fastest growing chronic condition

risk factors for diabetes | Perpetual Wellbeing

What is insulin resistance and how does it contribute to the onset and development of Type 2 Diabetes, Australia’s fastest growing chronic condition? What are the risk factors for diabetes and what can you do to avoid developing it?

Do you experience and of the following?

  • Fatigue
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Constant hunger
  • Sugar cravings
  • Fatigue after meals
  • Aches and pains
  • Weight gain around the abdomen

What Are The Risk Factors For Diabetes?

  • Overweight
  • Physically inactive
  • Stress
  • Family history of diabetes and/or insulin resistance
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Hypercortisolaemia (e.g. steroid use or Cushing’s disease)
  • Drugs (e.g. glucocorticoids, progestrogens)
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Systemic toxicity
  • Inflammation

The above are all factors that can contribute to the incidence of Insulin Resistance and the development of Type 2 diabetes.

What is Insulin Resistance?

Think of insulin as the vehicle which carries glucose into your cells where it is metabolised to produce energy. If this process works properly, normal blood glucose levels should be maintained.

Insulin resistance is the condition in which normal amounts of insulin are produced by the pancreas, but there is a decreased sensitivity of target cells to insulin. As the disorder progresses, blood sugar levels increase as pancreas is unable to produce adequate insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. The inability of the pancreas to produce more insulin is what characterises the transition from insulin resistance to type 2 diabetes.

 

How do I know if I am insulin resistant?

It is as simple as a fasting blood test, measuring fasting insulin, and fasting glucose. These figures are used to work out a HOMA-IR score (homoeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance).

A HOMA-IR score of less than 1.0 means you are insulin-sensitive which is optimal.

Above 1.9 indicates early insulin resistance.

Above 2.9 indicates significant insulin resistance.

 

How can I maintain healthy blood glucose levels and prevent Insulin resistance from developing?

  • Choose a wide variety of non-starchy vegetables (5-7 serves daily)
  • Replace refined carbohydrates with whole grain products
  • Eat fruits and starchy vegetables with high protein or high fibre foods
  • Use healthy fats – nuts, seeds, grains, fish, and liquid oils (coconut, olive, sesame, flax)
  • Lose weight (if you’re overweight) and exercise regularly
  • Manage stress

Ask your Perpetual Wellbeing practitioner for advice as they will be best suited to guide you through this dietary change. Your healthcare practitioner will also be able to prescribe any required nutritional and/or herbal supplements to help support healthy blood glucose balance and to help decrease your HOMA score.

If you’re concerned about the risk factors for diabetes and feel that that you may be at risk, make an appointment to come in and see us and we can assess your risk and provide a plan to reduce your risk,