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Obesity Associated with Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces insulin but cannot use it properly. The pancreas compensates for the increased demand for insulin by producing more. Eventually, the pancreas fails to keep up with the body's need for insulin and glucose builds up in the bloodstream, setting the stage for diabetes.

As the obesity epidemic spreads among children in the US, more children are being diagnosed with insulin resistance. Approximately 17% of children in the US are obese. Obesity is a contributing factor for children who are insulin resistant, and these children may go on to develop type 2 diabetes.

The signs of insulin resistance can include:

  • Impaired fasting blood sugar or impaired glucose tolerance. This occurs because the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to overcome the insulin resistance. Blood sugar levels rise and eventually diabetes is diagnosed.
  • High blood pressure. Studies suggest that the worse the blood pressure, the worse the insulin resistance.
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels. The typical cholesterol levels of a person with insulin resistance are low HDL, or good cholesterol, and high levels of another blood fat called triglycerides.
  • Obesity is a major factor in the development of insulin resistance, especially abdominal obesity or belly fat. Obesity promotes insulin resistance and negatively impacts insulin responsiveness in a person. Weight loss can improve the body's ability to recognize and use insulin appropriately.

Hyperinsulinemia

Hyperinsulinemia is not diabetes, but it means that there is a higher-than-normal amount of insulin in a person’s blood. The condition is often associated with type 2 diabetes. It can be caused by insulin resistance, in which the pancreas makes more insulin to compensate for the body’s resistance to its effects.

Hyperinsulinemia is a sign of an underlying problem controlling blood sugar, which requires your pancreas to secrete large amounts of insulin to keep your blood sugar within a normal range. Hyperinsulinemia can develop into type 2 diabetes if unmonitored and untreated.

If your child is overweight or obese and you are concerned that he or she might be insulin resistant or at risk for type 2 diabetes, contact Endocrine Kids to learn more about our weight management pathway. Call our Novi, Michigan office at (248) 347-3344 for an appointment or you can use our secure online appointment request form.

Download our Diet and Exercise Intake Form to help us evaluate your child's lifestyle influences on his or her weight.

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Health and Nutrition Direction Pathway (HAND)

Health and Nutrition Direction Pathway (HAND)

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