What Does The Test Result Mean
Insulin levels must be evaluated in context.
|Not enough insulin produced by the beta cells||Low||High|
|Hypoglycemia due to excess insulin||Normal or high|
Elevated insulin levels are seen with:
Measuring Blood Sugar And Insulin Levels
There are many ways for doctors to assess your blood sugar and insulin levels and determine insulin resistance. One of the most common methods involves taking an oral “glucose tolerance test.” After fasting, a patient drinks a solution containing 75 grams of sugar glucose. Blood is periodically drawn over a two- to five-hour period to determine how high the glucose levels rise and how quickly they fall. Doctors directly measure changes in glucose and infer insulin function from this data. A glucose response more typical of a diabetic or prediabetic suggests insulin resistance. Some physicians, especially those who specialize in the treatment of Syndrome X, also draw blood to specifically measure insulin levels, but this is not common in general practice. A normal fasting glucose range, taken before breakfast, is 65120 mg/dL . A normal fasting insulin range is 635 micro-international units per milliliter . A normal two-hour postprandial glucose range is generally 65139 mg/dL. A normal two-hour postprandial insulin range is 635 micro-international units per milliliter .Continue reading > >
Preventing Insulin Resistance Problems
If you have prediabetes, you may be able to prevent the condition from developing into diabetes with these health-promoting behaviors:
- Work toward including exercise as a part of your daily routine, preferably getting in 30 minutes at least 5 days a week.
- Try to eat a nutrient-rich, balanced diet as often as possible.
- If you have overweight, consider losing weight even reducing your body weight by just 7 percent can help lower your risk of developing diabetes.
Making health-promoting lifestyle choices is the best way to help get your blood glucose levels in the desired range.
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How To Test Insulin Levels At Home
Seeking said:I saw some older threads in here about people who were testing their own blood insulin and glucose at the same time and I believe they were doing it at home. I know how to test blood glucose at home but how do you test your blood insulin levels at home? Is there a meter for that too?
Other Tips For Checking:
- With some meters, you can also use your forearm, thigh, or fleshy part of your hand.
- There are spring-loaded lancing devices that make sticking yourself less painful.
- If you use your fingertip, stick the side of your fingertip by your fingernail to avoid having sore spots on the frequently used part of your finger.
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Do You Know Your Insulin Level
People often keep close watch on their glucose numbers, but how many of us know our insulin level? Dr. Joseph Mercola says fasting insulin is the number that may best predict your sudden death. Sounds important. But what does it mean?
Our bodies need some circulating insulin at all times, even when we dont eat. Otherwise, our livers keep making glucose and dumping it into the blood. Livers do this to prevent blood glucose from going too low.
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So a fasting insulin level should never be 0, which it might be in a person with untreated Type 1. It shouldnt go below 3. But a high insulin level is just as problematic. A high insulin level is a sign of insulin resistance or prediabetes. It can also signify early-stage Type 2.
According to Dr. Mercola, too much insulin promotes weight gain by storing fat. It promotes insulin resistance, lowers magnesium levels, and increases inflammation. It also tends to lower HDL cholesterol and raise levels of LDL cholesterol.
All of these increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. It may be that high insulin levels come before insulin resistance and help cause it.
A fasting insulin level test is valuable in several situations:
Separating Type 2 from LADA . A person with Type 2 might have a normal or even high fasting insulin level. A person with LADA is typically low.
Can I Check My Own Blood Sugar
You can do blood sugar level check by doing a finger-prick test, or by using an electronic blood sugar monitor called a flash glucose monitor or CGM. You can do this several times a day helping you keep an eye on your levels as you go about your life and help you work out what to eat and how much medication to take. Find out your ideal target range.
Not everyone with diabetes needs to check their levels like this. Youll need to if you take certain diabetes medication. Always talk to your healthcare team if youre not sure whether thats you theyll give you advice on whether to check them yourself and how often.
And theres also something called an HbA1c, which is a blood test to measure your average blood sugar level over the last three months. Everyone with diabetes is entitled to this check.
High blood sugar levels increase your risk of developing serious complications. However you manage your diabetes, stay in the know about your blood sugar levels
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How Is Insulin Resistance Treated
Since not all factors that contribute to insulin resistance can be treated, such as genetic factors and age, lifestyle modifications are the primary treatment for insulin resistance. Lifestyle modifications include:
- Eating a healthy diet: Your healthcare provider or nutritionist may recommend avoiding eating excessive amounts of carbohydrates and eating less unhealthy fat, sugar, red meats and processed starches. Instead, theyll likely recommend eating a diet of whole foods that includes more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish and lean poultry.
- Physical activity: Getting regular amounts of moderate-intensity physical activity helps increase glucose energy usage and improve muscle insulin sensitivity. A single session of moderate-intensity exercise can increase glucose uptake by at least 40%.
- Losing excess weight: Your healthcare provider may recommend trying to lose excess weight to try treating insulin resistance. One study revealed that losing 7% of your excess weight can reduce the onset of Type 2 diabetes by 58%.
Over time, these lifestyle modifications can:
- Increase insulin sensitivity .
- Lower your blood glucose levels.
- Raise HDL cholesterol levels.
You may work with other healthcare providers, such as a nutritionist and endocrinologist, in addition to your regular doctor to come up with an individualized treatment plan that works best for you.
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About the author
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD is a New York Times bestselling co-author of Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes. He is the co-founder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green, and is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. He co-created the Mastering Diabetes Method to reverse insulin resistance in all forms of diabetes, and has helped more than 10,000 people improve their metabolic health using low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition, intermittent fasting, and exercise.Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-author of many peer-reviewed scientific publications.
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Open Access License / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License . Usage and distribution for commercial purposes requires written permission. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor. The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.
Plasma Pancreatic Hormone Measurements
Plasma immunoreactive insulin , C-peptide and proinsulin assays made on blood collected whilst the patient is hypoglycaemic are often of crucial importance in arriving at the correct differential diagnosis of spontaneous fasting hypoglycaemia. In all conditions causing spontaneous hypoglycaemia except endogenous hyperinsulinism due to insulinoma, nesidioblastosis or sulphonylurea overdosage, all three hormones are appropriately low in peripheral venous blood collected whilst the patient is hypoglycaemic. In most, but not all, cases of endogenous hyperinsulinism, both C-peptide and IRI are inappropriately high, though often not above the misnamed normal range for fasting plasma levels. The so-called glucose / insulin ratio, expressed as a number, has in the author’s view no role in the diagnosis of hypoglycaemia, any more than most derived values or ratios. In the absence of coexisting hypoglycaemia, plasma IRI and/or C-peptide measurements are extremely difficult if not impossible to interpret. High plasma proinsulin levels, on the other hand, are invariably pathological and are currently probably the single most specific and sensitive indicator of insulinoma.
Derek Le Roith, Martin L. Adamo, in, 2004
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First Some Basic Things To Know About Insulin:
- Approximately 40-50% of the total daily insulin dose is to replace insulin overnight, when you are fasting and between meals. This is called background or basal insulin replacement. The basal or background insulin dose usually is constant from day to day.
- The other 50-60% of the total daily insulin dose is for carbohydrate coverage and high blood sugar correction. This is called the bolus insulin replacement.
Bolus Carbohydrate coverage
The bolus dose for food coverage is prescribed as an insulin to carbohydrate ratio.The insulin to carbohydrate ratio represents how many grams of carbohydrate are covered or disposed of by 1 unit of insulin.
Generally, one unit of rapid-acting insulin will dispose of 12-15 grams of carbohydrate. This range can vary from 4-30 grams or more of carbohydrate depending on an individuals sensitivity to insulin. Insulin sensitivity can vary according to the time of day, from person to person, and is affected by physical activity and stress.
Bolus High blood sugar correction
The bolus dose for high blood sugar correction is defined as how much one unit of rapid-acting insulin will drop the blood sugar.
Generally, to correct a high blood sugar, one unit of insulin is needed to drop the blood glucose by 50 mg/dl. This drop in blood sugar can range from 15-100 mg/dl or more, depending on individual insulin sensitivities, and other circumstances.
Preventing & Treating Insulin Resistance
The NIDDK notes that a lack of physical activity can be linked to insulin resistance and prediabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Program , a National Institutes of Health-funded research study, found that people who are at a high risk of developing diabetes could reduce this risk by losing 5% to 7% of their weight through physical activity and a change in diet.
A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can work with you to create an individualized meal plan to help lower insulin resistance. The meal plan can take into consideration your food preferences, work schedule, weight, health goals, and more. Medicare and most insurance plans cover visits with an RDN. Ask your healthcare professional for a referral, or visit eatright.org to find a dietitian near you.
If your healthcare team recommends increasing physical activity and losing weight, adding a mild-moderate exercise to your routine may help your body improve how it balances blood glucose levels and responds to insulin. Your healthcare team may also recommend a move toward eating healthier to help you lose weight, reverse insulin resistance, and prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes if you currently have prediabetes.
The DPP also reports that taking metformin, a medicine used to treat diabetes, can delay the onset of diabetes. Metformin was found to work best for younger adults, people with obesity, and women with a history of gestational diabetes.
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Insulin Resistance Treatment And Prevention
You can take steps to reverse insulin resistance and prevent type 2 diabetes:
- Exercise. Go for at least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity 5 or more days a week. If you’re not active now, work up to that.
- Get to a healthy weight. If you’re not sure what you should weigh or how to reach a weight loss goal, ask your doctor. You may also want to talk with a nutritionist and a certified personal trainer.
- Eat a healthy diet. Think fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish, legumes, and other lean protein.
- Take medications. Your doctor may prescribe a medication called metformin to help keep your blood sugar in check.
What Should Your Numbers Be
Insulin is measured in microunits per milliliter . Unfortunately, there isnt much agreement on what level is ideal. The website Health Central says 1020. Dr. Mercola says less than 5.
A study in Arizona found that women with a fasting insulin level around 8.0 had twice the risk of prediabetes as did women with a level around 5.0. Women with a fasting insulin of 25 or so had five times the risk of prediabetes.
University of Washington researcher Stephen Guyenet writes that The average insulin level in the US is 8.8 mIU/ml for men and 8.4 for women. Given the degree of metabolic dysfunction in this country, I think its safe to say that the ideal level of fasting insulin is probably below 8.4 uIU/mL would be 26.
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What Affects Your Results
If you have certain conditions, like anemia or gout, or if it’s hot or humid or you’re at a high altitude, that can affect your blood sugar levels.
If you keep seeing unusual results, recalibrate your meter and check the test strips.
The chart below gives you an idea of where your blood sugar level should be throughout the day. Your ideal blood sugar range may be different from another person’s and will change throughout the day.
|Time of Test|
Modern Measurements Of Insulin Resistance
Over the last 3 decades, numerous additional approaches emerged for quantifying insulin, ranging from fasting single blood sample indices to provocative and dynamic tests. Table 1 gives a high-level summary of the common tests available, their advantages and limitations, and, when available, correlations with the gold standard euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp. Each of these techniques has its own set of assumptions and limitations. Therefore, choosing the most appropriate test for assessing insulin resistance depends on the study design and population, available clinical and research resources, and the underlying hypotheses or expected clinical outcome.
For additional information:
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Whats My Target Range
You might be asking, what’s the normal range for blood sugar levels? The answer is, there is a healthy range that you should ideally be aiming for. The infographics above show the general guidelines, but your individual target range for your blood sugar levels may be different. Youll healthcare team will agree with you what it is.
Youll get different readings at different times of the day, depending on things like what youve eaten and how much you are moving around. Heres a guide to help you get started on finding your target range:
If youre a child with type 1 diabetes
- when you wake up and before meals: 4 to 7mmol/l
- after meals: 5 to 9mmol/l
If youre an adult with type 1 diabetes
- when you wake up and before meals: 5 to 7mmol/l
- before meals at other times of the day: 4 to 7mmol/l
If you have type 2 diabetes
- before meals: 4 to 7mmol/l
- two hours after meals: less than 8.5mmol/l
What Causes Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance happens for a number of reasons. Age and obesity are the biggest factors, but genetics and lifestyle are also key contributors. â
Iâd like to reiterate here that insulin resistance will not inevitably cause serious damage or lead to diabetes. Some people will develop insulin resistance no matter how healthy they are, due to age and genetics. But if they remain at a healthy BMI and lower their carb intake, they can ensure their insulin resistance doesnât get to a danger level. They can avoid severe insulin resistance, which leads to heart disease, vision loss, and other health issues. The first step is knowing if you have insulin resistance.
Similarly, if you are overweight, you can stop insulin resistance from progressing and even reverse it by losing weight and reducing your carb intake.
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