Diabetes Month: Understanding insulin resistance


November is Diabetes Month, a time to raise awareness about diabetes and related conditions. This article focuses on insulin resistance, a key player in the diabetes landscape, and its far-reaching effects on metabolic health, gut health and conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), fertility and pregnancy. 

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance occurs when the body's cells become less responsive to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. When cells resist insulin's efforts to let glucose in, glucose is not used for energy, blood sugar levels rise and the pancreas compensates by producing more insulin.

Signs and symptoms

Early signs of insulin resistance include fatigue, frequent thirst, hunger after eating and increased urination. As the condition progresses, it may lead to weight gain, high blood pressure and abnormal lipid profiles. Insulin resistance often goes undiagnosed until more severe complications arise.

Risk factors

Obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, genetics and certain medical conditions contribute to insulin resistance. It's essential to recognize these factors to reduce your risk.

Role in metabolic health

Insulin resistance is a central player in metabolic syndrome, which raises the risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.

Impact on gut health

Recent research suggests a link between insulin resistance and gut health. An imbalanced gut microbiome may exacerbate insulin resistance, making a healthy gut crucial for diabetes prevention and management.

Insulin resistance and PCOS

Insulin resistance is common in women with PCOS, contributing to irregular periods, weight gain and fertility issues. Managing insulin resistance can help alleviate PCOS symptoms.

Fertility and pregnancy

Insulin resistance can affect fertility and pregnancy outcomes. Women with well-managed insulin resistance have a better chance of conceiving and experiencing a healthy pregnancy.

This Diabetes Month, let's celebrate awareness and understanding of insulin resistance. Northside's team of certified diabetes care and education specialists can help you mitigate the impact of insulin resistance on your metabolic health, gut health and overall well-being. 

Learn more about diabetes and nutrition education at Northside.


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Featured Provider

Lois Vergis, MS, RDN, LD, CDCES picture

Lois Vergis, MS, RDN, LD, CDCES

Specialties: Diabetes Education

Lois Vergis is a registered dietitian and diabetes care and education specialist in Diabetes & Nutrition Education at Northside Hospital Gwinnett. 

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