Do you have type 2 diabetes? Are you overweight? If you answered yes to these questions, then you are at risk for hyperinsulinemia. Although this condition is not limited to diabetic patients, it’s often associated with type 2 diabetes.
People who have hyperinsulinemia but have not been diagnosed with diabetes likely already have prediabetes or insulin resistance, which means a type 2 diabetes diagnosis is in their imminent future. The primary cause of hyperinsulinemia is insulin resistance, according to the UK Diabetes Organization.
If you have questions or concerns about hyperinsulinemia or insulin resistance and their relationship to diabetes, we’ll provide an explanation in this article. You will also learn about the warning signs, treatment, and preventative care for hyperinsulinemia.
Does Hyperinsulinemia Mean I Have Diabetes?
In short, no; hyperinsulinemia is not diabetes. However, insulin resistance is the leading cause of this condition, and it’s also one of the leading causes of type 2 diabetes, according to Dr. Erika Brutsaert at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Furthermore, insulin resistance is also associated with prediabetes. There are about 54 million people in the United States with prediabetes, according to the Joslin Diabetes Center. If you get diagnosed with prediabetes, the American Heart Association says you will most likely develop type 2 diabetes within the next ten years.
To better understand the reason for hyperinsulinemia, we must first take a deeper look at the leading cause of the condition. People who are obese, overweight, have chronic stress, take high doses of steroids, and live a sedentary lifestyle have a greater risk of developing insulin resistance.
According to Healthline, insulin is a hormone which gets made in your pancreas, which is an organ behind your stomach. After you eat, your digestive system turns carbohydrates into sugar. Your body uses insulin to absorb the glucose into your bloodstream to create energy.
Insulin resistance is the result of your body not properly responding to the insulin hormones. When this happens, you are at risk for hyperinsulinemia, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 15-30% of people with insulin resistance or prediabetes will get diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within five years. If you have a family history of type 2 diabetes, then you have a greater risk of suffering from hyperinsulinemia as well.
Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes can be prevented. Your body can no longer use insulin properly due to the unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices you made throughout the years.
If you have hyperinsulinemia, but not diabetes, you still have time to make drastic health changes. Lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 34%, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Diseases.
What Are the Symptoms of Hyperinsulinemia?
According to the Medical News Network, the most common symptoms of hyperinsulinemia include:
- Raised uric acid levels
- High triglycerides
- Unexplained weight gain
- Diagnosis of type 2 diabetes
In addition to these symptoms and health complications, people suffering from hyperinsulinemia may also experience common symptoms associated with insulin resistance, since the two conditions often go hand in hand. These symptoms are:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
- Lack of focus and motivation
- Tired and lethargic
- Extreme hunger
- Increased belly fat
Hyperinsulinemia is slow developing, and the early signs and symptoms are almost non-existent, according to Barbara E. Corkey at the Diabetes Journal Organization.
What If I Don’t Have Diabetes?
According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s possible to have hyperinsulinemia without diabetes or any associated conditions of diabetes. Although rare, a tumor inside the cells in your pancreas which produce insulin can cause hyperinsulinemia.
Another potential cause unrelated to diabetes is called nesidioblastosis, according to the US National Library of Medicine. Patients with this condition have an excessive amount of insulin-producing cells in their pancreas.
How Is Hyperinsulinemia Treated?
Since the majority of hyperinsulinemia patients are diabetics, managing their diabetes is the best method of treatment. If you have been neglecting your insulin injections or monitoring your blood sugar levels, you need to get back on track before you put yourself at risk for more serious health concerns.
Your doctor will give you instructions and directions on which type of insulin works best for your specific case, and how often you need to inject yourself. The different variations of insulin are meant to replicate the natural insulin production in your body.
According to WebMD the four types of insulin available for diabetics are long acting, short acting, rapid acting, and intermediate acting. Some of these are intended for treatment before you eat meals, such as short acting and rapid acting. The other types are meant to last longer and work throughout the day.
Change Your Diet
Carbohydrates are the type of food our bodies process and turn into glucose, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Diseases. If you monitor and eat the proper amount of carbohydrates, you can limit the amount of insulin injections needed on a daily basis.
The best foods for diabetics to eat are lean meats, fish, and vegetables, according to the National Health Service Organization. Well-balanced meals and regularly consuming healthly snacks such as nuts are the key components to managing your blood sugar levels.
Avoid desserts, fast food, processed food, and drinks with lots of sugar such as soda, soft drinks, and sports drinks. The Nutrition Facts Organization estimates there are about ten teaspoons of sugar in the average 12-ounce can of soda. Consuming so much sugar in a single drink is dangerous for people with hyperinsulinemia and diabetes.
You need to get some exercise into your daily routine. If your hyperinsulinemia is caught in the prediabetes stage, regular exercise can reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Physical activity helps promote the effective use of insulin hormones in your body and minimizes your chance of unsafe spikes or drops in your blood sugar levels. If you are obese or overweight, exercise could help you lose fat which is a contributing factor to your medical complications associated with hyperinsulinemia.