4 Ways to Lower Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance is a term most people use when talking about type 2 diabetes, not hepatitis. But insulin resistance doesn't just affect those with diabetes.
It can happen with chronic hepatitis C, too. Insulin resistance is a fancy way of saying your body can’t use the insulin it makes very well. This is a big deal because insulin’s job is to help shift fuel (or glucose) into your body’s cells for energy.1, 2
Beyond getting treatment for hepatitis C, there are ways you can lower insulin resistance. There are a few ways that this can be done.
Sleep and blood sugar concerns
“You need to get your rest! Rest for 7-8 hours a night!” might be things that you hear often. But getting great sleep can be tough, as many know.
From work schedules to sleep disorders, it seems like there are a million reasons why getting enough sleep, on a regular basis, is hard. Sleep affects your health in many ways, including insulin resistance.
Less sleep leads to higher insulin resistance, making the body work harder to push fuel into your cells and keep blood sugars in a healthy range. Setting up a sleep schedule, bedtime routine, and working with your medical team to diagnose and treat sleep conditions are a few things you can do to make better sleep patterns.3,4
Excercise assisting with insulin resistance
You’ve likely heard that exercising or being physically active can improve your health and keep your heart strong. But, did you know your activity level can also be linked to insulin resistance?
Studies show that low physical activity and long periods of sitting, even in people who consider themselves healthy, increase insulin resistance. That means, on the flip side, being active can lower insulin resistance.5
There are many ways to get more active--- break up the time you sit, add in regular walks, join a group exercise class, and more. In short, the more active you are, the better your body can stand up to this effect of chronic hepatitis C.6
Can smoking affect your insulin resistance?
Smoking cigarettes is tough on the body in a number of ways—and chances are you’ve heard about most of them. Smoking also increases insulin resistance.7
Luckily, research suggests that some of the effects of smoking may be reversed by stopping. That means, any action to lower the number of times you smoke each day is a step towards a healthier body. Talk with your medical team about options to help you quit.8
Lowering your stress
Chronic (long-term) stress has been linked to higher levels of insulin resistance.9,10 Chronic stress can happen from a number of different sources: social or work pressures, family struggles, stigmas like sexism and racism, and more.
Interrupting these stress patterns can be very hard. But there are things that can help protect you from the effects of chronic stress and/or ways to treat it: being active, eating well, improving your sleep patterns, learning coping skills, staying connected to help loved ones, working with a therapist, and more.
Many of these actions, while helping lower stress levels, should also help lower insulin resistance, too.