Created on: December 22, 2009 Last Updated: December 23, 2009
As the name suggests, insulin resistance is a state in which the bodies own tissues are not responding adequately to the usual physiological amount of insulin secreted by the pancreas or which is injected from outside. Thus, the condition can mimic the signs of a diabetic or high blood sugar levels not because the insulin is deficient, but because the tissues are not responsive to the normal levels or at times higher levels of insulin.
When considering the insulin hormone, it acts on various tissues and will promote these tissues to take up the blood sugars in order to store or else to be used up. When the tissues do not respond to the normal levels of insulin, the pancreas would compensate by secreting more insulin and thus maintaining adequate blood sugar levels. But, at some point, the resistance would over whelm the insulin production and thus the blood sugar levels will rise to the level which we all know as ‘Type II diabetes’ or ‘adult onset diabetes’.
In patients with insulin resistance, there can be many other medical disorders in co-existence. But, it should also be remembered that these associations are not present in all the patients. Some of these associations are:
* Fatty liver disease
* Skin lesions
* Hormonal abnormalities
* Sub fertility and related disorders
Apart from these associations, it’s possible to see these patients to be in one of the following states.
* Severe infections
* Immune compromised state
* Periods using steroids
Thus, the symptoms associated with insulin resistance would not be anything specific to the ‘insulin resistance’, but would be symptoms seen in relation to the above mentioned disease or functional states. Therefore, in general, following symptoms can be seen in patients suffering from ‘insulin resistance’ to a variable degree and in a non specific manner.
* Over weight with central obesity
* Hyper pigmentation of the skin creases
* Appearance of skin tags
* Symptoms of pregnancy
* Fever in case of underlying infections
* Menstrual abnormalities and inability to conceive or recurrent miscarriages.
* Peripheral vascular diseases indicated by the presence of cold extremities, skin discolorations, venous ulcers as well as pain.
* Poly-cystic ovarian disease in females which could be linked to the higher levels of androgen hormones in patients with insulin resistance.
As you can see, apart from the usual symptoms of high blood sugar levels, there can be many other symptoms appearing in such patients due to various underlying or associated conditions.
Learn more about this author, Dr Pandula Siribaddana.
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Symptoms of insulin resistance