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Insulin Resistance: Treatment, Cost and Side Effects

What is the Insulin Resistance? How is the Insulin Resistance treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the Insulin Resistance?

Insulin is a hormone secreted by a set of cells called beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin helps in absorption of sugar by other cells of the body to get energy. Insulin resistance is a condition wherein the cells are not able to absorb blood sugar, thereby increasing blood sugar level. High blood sugar level triggers the beta cells in the pancreas to produce more insulin which in turn contributes to a high insulin level in the blood stream. This eventually leads to latent autoimmune diabetes in adults and type 2 diabetes. If the blood glucose level in your body is not as high as in type 2 diabetes but is higher than normal, then the condition is considered to be prediabetes. Risk factors for insulin resistance are obesity and overweight, physical inactivity or a sedentary life, old age or more than 45 years, giving weight to an obese baby, having gestational diabetes during pregnancy, having cardiovascular disease and having polycystic ovary syndrome in girls. The medical conditions associated with insulin resistance are fatty liver, acanthosis nigerians, arteriosclerosis, issue in reproductive health and skin tags. Treatment for insulin resistance mainly involves changes in lifestyle and can sometimes require medication. The first and foremost treatment to fight insulin resistance is physical exercise to lose weight and maintain a proper metabolism. Some medications that help control the condition are thiazolidinediones and metformin. Another medication used in the treatment of insulin resistance is acarbose (Precose).

How is the Insulin Resistance treatment done?

The medications used for the treatment or reversing insulin resistance are metformin (Glucophage), acarbose (Precose) and thiazolidinediones like rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone (Actos). Medication with metformin has been found quite effective as it works in two mechanisms. Metformin resists the liver cells to release glucose into the bloodstream and it also increases the sensitivity of the muscle and fat cells to glucose in the blood. The fat and muscle cells absorb more glucose from the blood, thereby decreasing the blood glucose level. Metformin has been proved to decrease the chance of diabetes by 31 percent. The drug is mainly used for patients who are overweight and have been proved to promote reduction of weight. Acarbose has been found to act in the intestines wherein it slows down glucose uptake by the intestinal cells. This reduces the requirement of insulin thereby reducing the release of insulin by the beta cells of the liver. Acarbose has been found to reduce the change of development of diabetes by about 25 %. The use of thiazolidinediones drugs have also been found to act by increasing insulin sensitivity. A few other medications that have proved beneficial for treating severe insulin resistance are cyclophosphamide, prednisone and rituximab. Insulin resistance can also be treated by bariatric surgery like gastric bypass, gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy. This has been the most effective treatment for obese patients who have not been able to reduce weight with other options like medication and exercise.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Person diagnosed with excess level of glucose in the blood that are also overweight, have family history of diabetes, sleep problems, regular smoking, and old age and due to some other drugs like use of steroids, are eligible for treatment.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

People who are not diagnosed with increased insulin level in the blood are not eligible for the treatment.

Are there any side effects?

Yes, the medications do cause side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, bloating, gas and loss of appetite, sometimes infections in respiratory tract, weakness, very low blood glucose level, chills, heartburn and low vitamin B 12. Metformin also has a rare but very serious side effect called lactic acidosis. Lactic acidosis in turn causes abnormal heartbeats, breathing problems, discomfort in stomach, muscle ache and light-headedness. Acarbose medication can have side effects like unusual, bleeding, severe stomach ache, severe itching due to allergic reaction, watery and bloody diarrhoea etc. Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) cause side effcts like edema, macular edema, heart failure, weight gain and hypoglycaemia.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Along with the treatment for insulin resistance it is recommended to work out so that you lose weight, quit smoking, cut on carbohydrate and sugar intake and get sufficient sleep. After getting the bariatric surgery done, it is recommended to take diet low on carbohydrate and sugar and that rich in proteins to preserve the muscles in the body. Also it is important to have small meals, eat and drink slowly, chew the foods thoroughly before swallowing and take mineral and vitamin supplements as recommended.

How long does it take to recover?

It takes about 6 to 12 weeks to normalise insulin levels in blood.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

It costs around Rs. 200 to Rs. 7 lakh including consultation, medication and bariatric surgery if required.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Yes the treatments are often quite effective and permanent. So, once treated for reversing insulin resistance and proper steps are taken to keep body weight under check and have appropriate food intake, the glucose and insulin level in the blood is maintained for whole life.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

The alternatives for the treatment is changes in lifestyle like doing regular exercise and following a proper diet to lose weight and get rid of obesity.

Popular Questions & Answers

I am suffering from type ii diabetes mellitus. On insulin which precautions should I take for insulin resistance or say insulin antibodies.

MBBS, CCEBDM, Diploma in Diabetology, Diploma in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics, Cetificate Course In Thyroid Disorders Management (CCMTD)
Endocrinologist, Dharwad
In t2 dm there is insulin resistance but there are no antibodies against it. Insulin resistance can be reduced by maintaining near normal body weight and a bmi of 23kg/m2. Exercising for more than 1 h a day is a good method of improving insulin re...

I am 60 years old has diabetes type b for last 15 years. At the moment I have to take humalog mix 50 total 60 units to keep sugar level under control. My hba1c is 6.5. My doctor says my dose is high because insulin resistance. My body creates anti bodies to destroy the insulin. It should reduce with passage of time, however, if I reduce the dose my blood glucose level shoots up. I am following very strict diet and exercise regime. However, the insulin dose is not reducing. Can you suggest me any alternative?

MBBS, CCEBDM, Diploma in Diabetology, Diploma in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics, Cetificate Course In Thyroid Disorders Management (CCMTD)
Endocrinologist, Dharwad
In t2dm there are no antibodies produced against insulin, it is the insulin resistance that is the culprit along with improper production of insulin by beta cells of pancreas. You might a drug like metformin 500 mg twice a day in addition to insul...
2 people found this helpful

My niece she is 7 years old facing overweight condition. Doctors done blood test and it shows insulin level is little high. Need some expert doctor for treatment. She is already taking treatment for seizures.

Post Graduation Diploma in Dietetics and Public Health Nutrition, Fellowship In Obesity Management
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Amritsar
1. Drink water 16 glasses daily 2. Take high fibre diet and low fat and carbohydrates diet plan and do exercise. 3. Stop eating outside foods and packets foods, junk foods etc fatty. 4. Smaller meals in small quantity 5. Early dinner before 6 pm. ...
1 person found this helpful

I am diabetic and barely take 1000 calories in a day. Still I am gaining weight. This is also impacting my diabetic condition. I suffer from insulin resistance. I also think I have kind of metabolic syndrome which is cause of my weight and this diabetes. Can you suggest some effective solution to this problem. I don't have anything else for now. Thyroid and blood pressure all are normal.

MD - Homeopathy, BHMS
Homeopath, Vadodara
Hello Supriya. There are some simple ways to improve disturbed metabolism. And it requires multiple approach. Like dieting. Yogasanas, pranayama and homoeopathic treatment. These all needs proper consultation. You can consult me at lybrate.

I have been gaining a lot of weight. I also have insulin resistance. I am unable to lose weight because I cannot control my diet. Please give me some tips om how to lose weight and how to curb the sweet cravings and resist oily food. By the way, I am only 20 years old and I weigh 69 kgs.

Ph.D(Clinical Nutrition), M.Sc(Foods&Nutrition
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Delhi
You are overweight by 10-12 kgs and yes this needs to be corrected to improve insulin resistance. You can start with avoiding simple sugars as far as possible, Eating Out' less, avoiding junk and have good quantity of fresh foods which are not pro...
2 people found this helpful

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