Insulin Resistance Symptoms in Females (Don't Ignore These)Jun 10, 2021
Note: Reshape Physical Therapy and Wellness evolved into Weight Loss for Health, and finally Zivli. How to Lose Weight After 50 was our first course that eventually grew into Zivli. Some old blog posts or resources mentioned in this episode may have been removed.
If you’re a woman trying to lose weight, and frustrated with a lack of progress, this episode is for you. It’s going to shed some light on a condition that 85% of adults have and most don’t even know about it, and that’s insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is the most common health disorder worldwide. It’s at ground zero for weight gain, and if you have insulin resistance, you’re going to need a weight loss program that lowers it, otherwise you’re going to have a hard time losing weight, and an even harder time keeping it off.
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8 Signs of Insulin Resistance
You do not need to have all of these signs to have insulin resistance. Even just having one or two can be a pretty strong indicator that you have insulin resistance. What I find very powerful is when you start to lower insulin resistance, most if not all of these symptoms will improve in tandem.
#1: Excess Belly Fat
The first sign of insulin resistance is excess belly fat. Specifically, a waistline over 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women. To measure this, you’ll want to get a flexible measuring tape and measure on bare skin. Take a breath in and exhale, but don’t suck in your stomach. Measure the most narrow point between your lower ribs and above your hip bones. Be sure the tape is flat and not too tight when you take the reading.
#2: High Blood Pressure
The next sign of insulin resistance is a blood pressure reading of 130/80 or higher. This is a resting blood pressure, and you’ll want to be sure your arm is in a relaxed position, about the height of your heart for the most accurate measurement.
#3: High Blood Glucose
The third sign is a fasting glucose level over 100 milligrams per deciliter. This would place you in the prediabetic range. Your doctor likely won’t prescribe any medication at this point, but it should serve as a red flag that if you don’t make some lifestyle changes now, you’re setting yourself up to get diabetes down the road.
#4: High Triglycerides
The fourth sign is a fasting triglyceride level over 150 milligrams per deciliter.
#5: Low HDL Cholesterol
The fifth sign is a HDL cholesterol level under 40 milligrams per deciliter in men and 50 milligrams per deciliter in women. Notice that LDL cholesterol is not on this list and if you’re concerned about high LDL and don’t want to take a statin, check out my episode with Dr. Nadir Ali where we talk about why LDL goes up on a low-carb lifestyle and when we should care. It’s one of my most popular episodes and many have shared it with their physician.
#6: Skin Tags
The sixth sign of insulin resistance is skin tags. Skin tags are little flaps of skin and are usually harmless and painless. The main symptom is a growth on the skin, often on the neck, upper chest, underarms, and eyelids. They may become irritated from rubbing against clothing.
#7: Acanthosis Nigricans
The seventh sign of insulin resistance is a condition called acanthosis nigricans, a skin condition that causes patches of dark, velvety skin typically found in body folds and creases.
#8: Easily Retain Water
The eighth sign of insulin resistance is retaining water easily. That’s because insulin naturally increases aldosterone. Aldosterone is a hormone that causes an increase in salt reabsorption from your kidneys. When your body retains more sodium, it also retains more water. This increases the amount of water in the blood, raises blood volume, and subsequently blood pressure. That’s why high blood pressure is a sign of insulin resistance, because insulin resistance directly contributes to high blood pressure.
Additional Risk Factors to Consider
Aside from actual physical signs of insulin resistance, you’ll want to consider if you have PCOS, or a family history of heart disease or type 2 diabetes.
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