10 Signs You Are Insulin Resistant

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In today’s blog post,  I’m sharing with you the 10 signs that you may have insulin resistance. Insulin resistance might be a term that you haven’t heard too much before but a term that you probably have heard in the last couple of years is metabolic syndrome. Insulin resistance is a key component of, and it is even interchanged with, metabolic syndrome. Identifying insulin resistance is the first step to being able to reverse it naturally.  OR You can watch my video by clicking below!

How Insulin Works

When you eat something, that food is converted into a simple sugar called glucose and this is used for cellular function or cellular energy. When you digest the food and it turns into glucose it’s released into the bloodstream this prompts the pancreas to produce insulin to help usher the glucose into cells –  muscle cells, fat cells and even your liver. If you have a diet that is high in sugar and high in carbs, over time, what can happen is that your body becomes desensitized to the insulin. The glucose that enters your body enters your bloodstream. It doesn’t get ushered into the cells anymore. At some point in time, your body is just producing more and more insulin but that insulin is just not as effective for ushering the glucose into these pockets of storage.  That’s what we call insulin resistance. 

Signs You Are Insulin Resistant

So what are some of the signs and symptoms of insulin resistance?

Fat Accumulation Around Midsection

One is fat accumulation around the midsection. This is also called visceral fat.  That’s the fat that gets packed into your midsection around your organs.  It’s some of the worst kind of fat to accumulate on the body. Visceral fat accumulation that is number one.  If you want to jump over to another video I talk about how to lose weight over 40 and I absolutely do address insulin resistance and how to start to reverse that to lose weight. So be sure to check out that video. 

Swollen Ankles

Symptom number two is swollen ankles.  What happens when there’s an accumulation of insulin in the body? It’s just circulating in the body. Maybe there’s also more glucose because your body is unable to store that away in different areas.  What this does is it tells your kidneys to store water and sodium. So you’ll start to get more swelling in your lower extremities, especially around your ankles.  

Increased Urination

Symptom three is increased urination. When you have all this extra glucose floating around your body, because it has nowhere else to go, your kidneys work extra hard to try to get rid of that extra glucose. Your kidneys will produce more urine so that you could flush the extra sugar out of your body.  You might imagine if you’re urinating more often you will also experience extreme thirst as your body tries to replenish water that’s been lost through urination.

Feeling Hungry After Eating

Symptom number five is feeling hungry after eating. After eating, your body produces more insulin to help store the glucose in the cells so that the cells have energy. What happens instead is that the cells resist that insulin, the sugar is then stored as fat and then you’re left feeling hungry and tired. 

Craving Sugar

Symptom number six is having a craving for sugar. This could be a really strong craving.  What is happening now is that your body is feeling like “oh my gosh give me some energy right now!”. Your cells are lacking the energy that they really need in order to function well. Your body is searching for sugar at this point so you might experience some additional cravings.  

Dark Skin Patches

Symptom seven is dark skin patches. These dark skin patches usually occur in the folds of your skin. They could be around the neck under your arm in the creases behind your knees. These can be dark sometimes and a little bit velvety looking or dry.  This is one of the common skin manifestations of insulin resistance. 

Skin Tags

Symptom number eight is skin tags. There has been a lot of research around this and there is a strong correlation between a person having multiple skin tags and having insulin resistance. This is yet another clue that you could have insulin resistance.  If you have multiple skin tags again the skin tags would likely occur around the neck fold and behind the knee. 

Irregular Menstrual Cycle (PCOS)

Symptom number nine is having an irregular menstrual cycle.  Insulin resistance or an increase of circulating insulin in the body has a correlation with hormone imbalances. PCOS is one of these types of hormone imbalances where male hormones are a little bit more elevated, or a lot more elevated, and there is a direct link between that and insulin resistance. So, when I work with a client who has PCOS, I am sure to check for insulin resistance.

Thyroid Imbalances

And finally symptom number ten,  thyroid imbalances!  There is a correlation between insulin resistance or a high level of insulin floating around in the body and some dysregulation with your thyroid. For me, thyroid imbalances happen prior to any insulin resistance so if you already have a thyroid condition that you’re aware of you may have insulin resistance. 

Testing for Insulin Resistance

If you have one or more of these symptoms but you’d still like to get some additional verification or confirmation that this is indeed a problem for you, one of the best tests again is a fasting insulin level test. This is not an A1C test. Definitely go ahead and get one of those if you’d like, but the fasting insulin level test is taken first thing in the morning as early as you could get over to the lab to get the blood draw. Or you could do an at-home test through myself. This is an individualized test that I would order for you through my health and wellness practice. This fasting insulin level test will tell you if your body is producing too much insulin.

If you don’t want to do this the next thing that I would recommend is to get a little glucose monitor. This is where you just prick your finger and you put a little dot of blood on the reader.  That will tell you what your blood sugar or blood glucose level is. For this test,  you would check first before eating and then two hours after eating. What you would hope to see is your glucose levels be well below 100. Fasting levels should be closer to about 75 to 80. Then you test again two hours later. If after two hours your blood sugar level isn’t back to baseline then that could be a sign of insulin resistance.  

Another way that you could confirm some issues with insulin resistance is to get a Continuous Glucose Monitor.  You could get this prescribed by your doctor if you have concerns.  A Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) will show exactly what your blood glucose levels are doing throughout the day so you don’t have to prick your finger. This is a device that goes on the back of your arm and stays there for two weeks. This can be synced to your phone and you could get real life data on any kind of foods that you eat. So, this is another way to really take control and manage your metabolic health.  

If you haven’t already seen my video on how to lose weight over 40 definitely take a time to check that out next I’ll see you there!


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