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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I prevent insulin resistance from turning into type 2 diabetes?

    I have been told I have Insulin resistance and the initial consult did not explain much. I want to know what I can do to prevent it becoming a form of Diabetes?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 3


    Neil Synnott

    Exercise Physiologist, Physiotherapist

    I am qualified as a PHYSIOTHERAPIST and ACCREDITED EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGIST.I primarily use the McKENZIE METHOD for assessment and management of musculoskeletal pain disorders. The McKENZIE … View Profile

    Hi Cherie,

    Insulin resistance can be a precursor to diabetes. Thus it is great that you are aware of this and wanting to know more about insulin resistance.

    Insulin is a hormone released by your pancreas. Insulin's main role is to regulate metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. Insulin helps glucose (a form of carbohydrate) transfer from our blood stream to other tissues - muscles, fat, liver - to give us energy to move etc. When insulin resistance is present, the ability of insulin to transfer glucose into your muscle is impaired. If insulin resistance is left untreated or unmanaged, over time your blood glucose level increases and can lead to a diagnosis of diabetes.

    I practice as an accredited exercise physiologist and have had many people referred by their general practitioner where insulin resistance has been the main reason for referral. With further education about insulin resistance and the role diet and exercise can have to manage it, the health team - YOU, the general practitioner, dietitian and accredited exercise physiologist - can manage this condition! I suggest you speak with your general practitioner about referral to a dietitian and accredited exercise physiologist.

    Regards, Neil

  • Dung Pham


    Dung is an Accredited Practising Dietitian who currently works in Community Health and Private Practice as a HACC/CH dietitian and Health Coach. She has also … View Profile

    Neil has described insulin resistance quite clearly. As an addit you might want to participate in Diabetes Austalias Life program which is a diabetes prevention program targeted to those at risk of diabetes or so called “Pre diabetes”. You can contact Diabetes Austalia directly or talk to your GP about it. The program focuses on nutrition , exercise and lifestyle changes and incorporates the expertise of a dietitian and exercise physiologist/ physiotherapist

  • Julie Iyengar

    HealthShare Member

    Very helpful, thanks

  • Kirsty Woods

    Exercise Physiologist

    Hi I’m Kirsty Woods,I would like to use my experience, expertise and passion to help you reach your weight, energy and health goalsI have been … View Profile

    Diet and exercise can both play a role in the progression of insulin resistance to diabetes. The progression occurs with increasing level of insulin resistance (reduced sensitivity to insulin).

    Exercise, particularly resistance based exercise improves insulin sensitivity (helping the cells respond to insulin) therefore preventing progression.

    In regards to diet, it is advised that you reduce your sugar and carbohydrate intake (sweets, breads and pastas).  A similar scenario to compare it to is when you walk into a room and a smell is present, after a while you get use to it. Your cells do the same with insulin, and if always present (ie: in the consumption of sugar/carbohydrates) the cells stop responding (more insulin resistant) leading to diabetes.  

  • 1


    Stuart Donaldson

    Exercise Physiologist

    Accredited Exercise Physiologist with ESSA providing services to clients in the Hervey Bay region, including entitled DVA clients (Entitled Department of Veterans' Affairs clients may … View Profile

    It is excellent that you have been identified with insulin resistance (or pre-diabetes), as this gives you every chance of preventing it from turning into type 2 diabetes. Insulin is the hormone that enables the sugar/glucose to go from the blood into the cells of the body. Insulin resistance means that your body is becoming increasingly unable to do this effectively, thus leading to an increase in blood glucose/sugar levels. Diabetes is when this number reaches a certain threshold.

    There are a number of factors that can help to prevent the disease from developing:
    1) Healthy weight and body fat. The research has shown that those in the healthy weight range are at less risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who are overweight or obese. If you are overweight or obese, as judged by either BMI or by measuring your waist circumference (should be less than 88cm for females, 102cm for men) then starting to lose weight would be a good start. To do this you should increase your exercise and improve your diet.

    2) Exercise. As with the above point, exercise will help facilitate weight loss, but exercise in itself helps to control blood sugar. Being active in as many ways as possible through your day is the best way. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes a day of aerobic activity (eg walking, running, swimming, etc), but aim to build this to 1 hour a day if possible, as this is the recommended level for weight loss. If you currently are not exercising, see an accredited exercise physiologist for a tailored exercise program. Weights/resistance/Strength training is a great way to incorporate more muscle groups into your exercise.

    3) Diet. Reducing your overall food intake will be beneficial in losing weight. Pay particular attention to highly sugared foods, such as soft drinks, cakes, biscuits (and other sweets). See a registered dietitian will be most beneficial.

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