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Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance also known as impaired insulin sensitivity is when your body's cells don't respond well to insulin, a hormone that lets sugar enter the cells to be used for energy. It's like a key that doesn't fit well in a lock anymore. Because the sugar can't get into the cells easily, it stays in your blood, leading to high blood sugar levels.

What is the difference
between insulin resistance
and diabetes?

Insulin resistance is when your body doesn't respond well to insulin, making it hard to regulate blood sugar effectively. Diabetes, on the other hand, occurs when insulin resistance is severe enough that your blood sugar levels become consistently high, and your body can no longer manage these levels with the insulin it produces.

Who gets affected by
insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance can affect anyone and might be temporary or chronic. It often results from being overweight, especially around the waist, and not exercising enough. People with any type of diabetes, including Type 1 and Type 2, can also experience insulin resistance.

It leads your body to produce more insulin to control blood sugar, that can cause weight gain and worsen insulin resistance. High insulin levels also increase the risk of high blood pressure, artery hardening, and high blood fats, contributing to metabolic syndrome, which raises the risk of heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes.

Calculate Your HOMA Score to Assess Insulin Resistance

The Homeostatic Model Assessment (HOMA) is used to measure insulin resistance and beta-cell function. By calculating your HOMA score, you can get a better understanding of how well your body is processing glucose.

How to calculate your HOMA Score?

To compute the HOMA-IR (Insulin Resistance) score, you'll need your fasting blood glucose and fasting insulin levels. 
The formula is:

The HOMA score provides insight into your insulin sensitivity and pancreatic function. Here's a general range to understand what your score indicates:

  • Less than 1: Optimal insulin sensitivity
  • 1 to 1.9: Acceptable, some insulin resistance
  • 2 to 2.9: Moderate insulin resistance
  • 3 or higher: Severe insulin resistance, high risk of Type 2 diabetes

Use this as a guide to discuss your health with your healthcare provider, especially if your HOMA score suggests insulin resistance.

Key Facts About Insulin Resistance

You can have a normal fasting insulin level and still be insulin resistant. This happens because the body may still manage to keep fasting insulin within a normal range while struggling with how effectively it uses insulin throughout the day.

Therefore, even with normal fasting values, insulin resistance might still be present, affecting your body's ability to handle glucose efficiently after meals or during periods of stress. It's important to
look at a broader range of tests and factors to accurately assess insulin sensitivity.

Symptoms of 
Insulin Resistance

While insulin resistance often starts without noticeable symptoms, as it progresses, it can lead to high blood sugar with symptoms such as:
Frequent Urination
Increased thirst
Increased hunger
Blurred Vission
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Skin Irritation
slow healing cuts and sores
Slow-healing cuts
and sores

Hormonal Conditions Linked to
Insulin Resistance

Your body produces numerous hormones, chemical messengers that regulate various functions by transmitting signals through your bloodstream to organs, muscles, and tissues. These signals instruct your body on its operations and timing.

Problems with specific hormones can impact your body's ability to use insulin effectively. Hormonal disorders that may lead to insulin resistance include:


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition where elevated androgens may cause irregular periods and infertility.

Learn more...
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Cushing Syndrome

Cushing's Syndrome produces too much cortisol, that can impair insulin resistance.

Learn more...
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An overactive thyroid can accelerate body metabolism, affecting insulin sensitivity.

Learn more...
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An overactive thyroid can accelerate body metabolism, affecting insulin sensitivity.

Learn more...
Dr. Linda Khoshaba is the Leading Integrative Health and Hormone Doctor in Scottsdale, Arizona. She has extensive experience working in the field as a Hormone Specialist and Natural Endocrinologist.

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Scottsdale, AZ 85255

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