Insulin sensitivity is how sensitive a person’s body is to insulin. Ideally, you want your body to be highly sensitive to insulin, meaning your body responds quickly, appropriately, and efficiently when it senses insulin is released. Insulin takes carbohydrates into cells to be used for fuel. When the body isn’t sensitive to insulin, high blood sugar can result. High blood sugar can be harmful, both in the short term and long term, which can result in developing type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, and heart disease.
If your doctor, endocrinologist, or bariatric surgeon have told you that your body is not very sensitive to the insulin it produces, don’t despair. There are ways to help your body become more sensitive to insulin. These tips are also good for your overall health, so it’s a win-win situation, especially if you have or are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
- Exercise: Exercise is good for nearly everybody, whether they are healthy, have diabetes, are overweight or obese, or even if they have a normal BMI. Exercise is good for our muscles, good for our heart, helps clear our head, relieves stress and can help us sleep better. It can also help improve insulin sensitivity. Medical studies suggest that a combination of aerobic and strength training exercises is the most effective way to improve insulin sensitivity.
- Sleep: Inadequate sleep can often be overlooked as something that can harm our health. But mounting evidence suggests that inadequate sleep can have some pretty negative effects on our bodies, including our appetite, weight, memory, stress levels, and also insulin sensitivity. In a 2015 study of sleep restricted adults, increasing their sleep duration by 1 hour a day for 6 weeks showed a positive effect of insulin sensitivity.
- Diet: Even if you aren’t actively trying to lose weight, making some dietary changes can help improve insulin sensitivity (although weight loss can also help). Reducing carbohydrates and replacing them with healthy, unsaturated fats can help improve insulin sensitivity. Unsaturated fats can be found in foods like fish, nuts, seeds, and avocados.
If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, follow the advice of your doctor and dietitian. But if have insulin sensitivity, these 3 tips can help improve your body’s response to insulin and hopefully help you avoid being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. Exercising, eating healthy, and getting adequate sleep can help you improve not just your overall health but help prevent diseases. They can also help promote weight loss, which is one proven method to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Weight loss can also help improve blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, and improve symptoms of sleep apnea.
If you have tried to lose weight and have not been successful, you may be a candidate for weight loss surgery, especially if you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, or high blood pressure. For more information on gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band surgery and which surgery is right for you, attend one of Dr. Shillingford’s free informational sessions. Dr. Shillingford’s gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients come from all over Florida, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Tampa for his surgical experience and compassionate bedside manner. Schedule your free session today by calling (561) 483-8840.