The skin is capable of alerting us to many different things concerning our health. Insulin resistance is just one thing that we may be able to detect through our skin. This is such an important thing to pay attention to as detecting it early can help you prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Once you know that you are struggling with insulin resistance, you can create a plan to help you get back on the right path.
When you become insulin resistant, it means that your cells are no longer responding to insulin the way that they should. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas to lower blood sugar levels as they begin to rise. Blood sugar usually rises after a meal when glucose starts to enter the bloodstream. In response to insulin, cells would normally pick up the glucose and use it for energy. When the cells become resistant, they stop responding and the pancreas has to increase the production of insulin to compensate. This eventually leads to damage to the pancreas which means that it can no longer keep up. Type 2 diabetes may then develop. Type 2 diabetes may occur months or years after resistance starts to occur.
Insulin resistance may be determined through tests however there are also several skin conditions that may indicate it. Up to 91% of people with type 2 diabetes also have at least one skin manifestation related to insulin resistance. Several conditions to watch for are:
- Acanthosis Nigricans or AN: The most common cause of AN is insulin resistance. It manifests as darker brown patches of velvety skin or thicker skin plaques. This is usually seen on the back of the neck, knuckles, elbows, or around the underarm.
- Skin tags: These are small benign tumors and will usually appear on the armpit, neck, or groin.
- Hyperandrogenism in women: Acne, AGA (patterned hair loss), and hirsutism (male pattern hair growth) are all manifestations of this condition and can be a sign of insulin resistance. These are also indicators of PCOS which, interestingly, is oftentimes connected to insulin resistance.
Correcting Insulin Resistance
Talking to your doctor is a must if you believe you may be experiencing any of the above skin conditions. If insulin resistance is believed to be the cause, you may be able to take steps to reverse it. Improved nutrition and exercise may be one way to reverse resistance. Talk to your doctor about the corrective measures you may be able to take.
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